Ulster to keep Best until 2015
London - Ireland hooker Rory Best has signed a new two-year contract with Irish province Ulster, the Celtic League club announced on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old has made 143 appearances for Ulster, scoring 12 tries, and has been capped 70 times by Ireland since making his debut in 2005 and was a member of the squad that won the 2009 Six Nations Grand Slam.
He was also called into the British and Irish Lions squad for their successful tour of Australia earlier this year after England's Dylan Hartley was ruled out by suspension.
"I am pleased to have signed for a further two years. It is a massive honour to play for Ireland and Ulster," he said.
"The support that I received when I missed out on the initial Lions squad was a massive factor in me making the decision to stay. That made me feel very special and underlined to me that Ulster is more than a team; it is a community and a rugby family.
"I want to keep playing for Ireland for as long as I can and to try and win a few more things in the green jersey."
Best follows in the footsteps of Ireland team-mates Donnacha Ryan and Conor Murray, both of whom recently rejected lucrative moves to the French Top 14 in order to extend their contracts with Munster.
Ulster rugby director David Humphreys said: "Rory Best is the cornerstone of the Ulster Rugby team and leads by example.
"He will be a key player in our team as we continue to build and improve in the coming years and I am delighted that he has signed this new contract."