Ireland captain Rory Best has toasted his NatWest 6 Nations success with a new IRFU and Ulster contract through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The 35-year-old hooker led Ireland to the Grand Slam at the weekend, his third Championship in charge of his country, and is Ireland’s third most-capped player.
It was the fourth Championship title of his career and he paid tribute to the support of his family upon signing the new deal with the IRFU.
“I am in a very privileged position as captain of Ireland and Ulster to be involved with two groups of incredibly talented players,” he said.
“I feel I can continue to make a contribution to both Ireland and Ulster Rugby and am delighted to have extended my IRFU contract to the next World Cup.
“Support of family, friends and supporters is a hugely important element for any professional sportsperson and I would like to thank everyone for their support.
“Specifically my wife Jodie who has been incredible and has ensured that as a family we have been able to share in all the great memories of the last few years.”
Best has more than 100 caps for Ireland having made his Championship debut in 2006 against Wales and has won two Grand Slam titles.
The hooker has been on two British & Irish Lions tours and has more than 200 appearances for club side Ulster.
IRFU performance director, David Nucifora, added: “Rory has been an outstanding leader for Ireland and continues to produce stand-out performances at the highest level of the game.
“He is an important member of the Ireland leadership group and we are delighted that he will continue to play a central role in Irish Rugby.”