Rory Best has made 198 appearances for the Kingspan Stadium side

Ireland hooker Rory Best will captain Ulster this season in what will be his third spell leading the Pro14 team.

The 35-year-old, who is also Ireland skipper, first held the position from 2007 to 2011.

Best takes over from last season’s joint captains Andrew Trimble and Rob Herring.

“It’s a huge honour – to play for Ulster fills me with immense pride and that feeling is amplified when I lead the team out,” he said.

Best was appointed Ireland captain 18 months ago and oversaw a historic run of results last year as they registered a first Test victory on South African soil in June followed by a first win over New Zealand in November.

A two-time British & Irish Lions tourist, Best led midweek sides on both the 2013 tour to Australia and again in New Zealand earlier this summer.

Superb leaders

“I’ll be in the privileged position of having an experienced group of players supporting me, all of whom have represented Ulster for a number of years and are superb leaders in their own right,” added Best, who played 198 times for Ulster.

“The standard of rugby in the Pro14 and the Champions Cup is improving each year and the players are looking forward to the challenges ahead in both competitions.”

“We’re committed to working hard each week to improve every aspect of our game and hopefully this will increase our chances of success.”

Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss paid tribute to the team’s new skipper.

“Rory is an exceptional ambassador for Ulster Rugby both on and off the pitch,” he said.

“He has recent experience of captaining Ireland and the Lions in massive games and that has further enhanced his leadership qualities, meaning he’s better equipped than ever before to lead us.”

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