Rory Best: Former Ireland captain says World Cup exit will 'take a long time to get over'

Rory Best
Best made his final appearance for Ireland in the World Cup defeat by New Zealand

Rory Best has said the prospect of playing for the Barbarians has helped him deal with Ireland's exit from the Rugby World Cup.

Former Ireland and Ulster skipper Best, 37, will captain the Barbarians for the first of a three-game series.

Ireland were knocked out by New Zealand at the quarter-final stage of the tournament in Japan.

"This was quite a nice distraction knowing that the game was coming up," said Best.

"I'm looking forward to playing for a team that I've never played with before and hopefully I can sign my career off with a win.

"When you come home from the World Cup a bit earlier than you wanted then you have those two weeks to watch the semi-finals and the final and reflect.

"It will take a long time to get over how we went out of the World Cup and how we expected to be there in the last four.

"When you take a look back and reflect as a rugby fan, the World Cup was a fantastic tournament.

"We talked before it and said it was going to be an open tournament and the fact South Africa were the first team to lose a match and then go on to lift the trophy suggests how tight it actually was."

I'll not rush into anything

While his career with Ulster and Ireland is now over, Best says that his attentions are fully on his spell with the Barbarians before he'll look at what comes next.

"The history of the Barbarians speaks for itself, it's a fantastic club to be part of and to pull on that black and white jersey gives you something to focus on," said the Hooker.

"You get to meet players that you have never played with and you get to see how other people tick.

"When this is over then I'll spend a lot of time with my family over Christmas and I'll do a little bit of farming and bit of business.

"I'm not in any rush to jump into something but I'll need something to get my teeth into soon enough."

World Cup winners Tendai Mtawarira, Makazole Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am are some of the names who will take to Twickenham against Fiji, with the variety of players involved one of the unique traits of the Baa-Baas.

Rory Best
Rory Best will captain the Barbarians on his first appearance in the iconic black and white shirt

"It's been good fun getting to know everyone. We've had a couple of good nights and a couple of dinners out and there is plenty of banter going about," said Best.

"We want to put a game out there that is reflective of this group and how close this group has come in such a short space of time.

"My body feels very good and I've been very lucky with my injuries over the years.

"I think that's the goal that when you get to the end of your career and you can still be in reasonable condition to kick a ball about with your kids.

"I'll look forward to not training in the cold and driving into Belfast every morning, being away on camps for weeks on end with Ireland and missing my family.

"But there's no doubt that I'll miss the games and the first one that I go to as a spectator will be hard to watch because nothing can replace that feeling of playing in front of 60,70 or 80,000 people."

Barbarians: David Havili, Dillyn Leyds, Mathieu Bastareaud, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch, Joe Powell; Tendai Mtawarira, Rory Best, Enrique Pieretto, Luke Jones, Tyler Ardron, Pete Samu, Marco van Staden, Josh Strauss.

Replacements: Andrew Makalio, Campese Ma'afu, Hencus van Wyk, Angus Cottrell, Matt Philip, Jano Vermaak, Lukhanyo Am, Morne Steyn.