Ireland hooker Rory Best returns for third stint as Ulster captain

Rory Best has been re-appointed captain of Ulster. Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Veteran Ireland and British & Irish Lions hooker Rory Best has been announced as Ulster captain for the upcoming season.

Best, 35, is no stranger to the role having led the Belfast-based club from 2007-2011 and 2014-2016.

Last season Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss appointed experienced wing Andrew Trimble and hooker Rob Herring as co-captains.

However the shift to dual-captaincy failed to inspire the team to strong performances on the field as Ulster finished fifth in the PRO12 and bowed out of the Champions Cup in the group stages.

Commenting on his re-appointment, Best said: "It's a huge honour to captain my home Province again. To play for Ulster fills me with immense pride and that feeling is amplified when I lead the team out.

"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."

Kiss says Best's recent experience in captaining the Lions midweek side in June as well as Ireland has made him the perfect man for the job.

"It's brilliant for us to be in a position to call upon someone with his experience and proven leadership ability.

"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."

Kiss confirmed that flanker Chris Henry will captain Ulster in their Guinness PRO14 opener against newcomers the Cheetahs on Friday as Best eases his way in from a long season.