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Ireland captain Rory Best set for talks over international future

Ireland captain Rory Best says he wants his international future sorted out before next month’s Six Nations starts.

The 35-year-old, who will skipper the team in the tournament, is seeking clarity over a possible new contract.

“I will sit down with the IRFU and with [Ireland coach] Joe Schmidt and I will make a decision on that in the next couple of weeks,” said Best.

“I would like it sorted out before the Six Nations so I can concentrate on playing.”

Ulster hooker Best made his Ireland debut against New Zealand in 2005 and has gone on to win 106 caps.

Best said he retained a hunger to compete at the highest level and had not ruled out playing in the 2019 World Cup.

Best led Ulster to an important Champions Cup win over La Rochelle on Saturday

“If the World Cup started right now I would have no problem, but you would need a crystal ball to know what I will be like,” he added.

“Right now I still feel I can play for Ireland at the top, top level and World Cup rugby is the top level.”

Best helped Ulster to a impressive European Champions Cup on Saturday, leaving the province top of Pool 1 going into this weekend’s final game at third-placed Wasps.

The Co Down man wants the team to raise the level of performance again and seize a “golden opportunity” against the English side.

Best added: “Ultimately people have to take responsibility and say I know I played well because I prepared well.

“So they have to do that every time they come in and even with the stuff outside the team environment, that has to be the way they prepare.

“If we can produce better again this weekend then maybe it will be a so-called watershed moment.”

Ireland begin their 2018 Six Nations campaign away to France on Saturday 3 February.

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