Darren Cave: Retiring centre urges team-mates 'don't wait for next year'

Darren Cave and Rory Best
Cave and Ulster captain Rory Best made their last home appearances in Ulster's win over Connacht on Saturday

Retiring Ulster centre Darren Cave has called on his team-mates not to assume that they will get another chance in the Pro14 play-offs next season.

The province defeated Connacht on Saturday to set up a semi-final with Conference A winners Glasgow.

"I genuinely don't feel like it is time to reflect," Cave said.

"The one thing I have been trying to say to this group is don't approach these games like there is going to be another year."

The Ireland international, 32, made his last appearance at Kingspan Stadium alongside outgoing skipper Rory Best as Ulster registered their first win over Connacht this season.

He is one appearance shy of Ulster's most-capped player of all time, Andrew Trimble, who played 229 times for the province.

With a maximum of two games remaining in the season, Cave could still retire as the province's most-capped player but he insists that is not his primary motivation.

"The whole way through my career we got to semi-finals and finals and I always felt like there would be next year," he said.

"One thing Rory and I are trying to say is it is not just about us, don't try and wait for next year.

"Make next year the one where you are going for two in a row."

Ulster Connacht
Marcell Coetzee's late try secured the win for Ulster

Ulster have taken considerable strides this season in head coach Dan McFarland's first year at the helm, reaching the last eight in Europe alongside winning their first home knockout game since 2013.

Despite leading throughout the contest against Connacht, the game was in the balance until Marcell Coetzee's 78th minute try.

"I am just so relieved we won to be honest," reflected Cave.

"We were one point behind and I thought 'is this the last time I play rugby?'

"That was pretty scary so I'm just happy that we have come through it."