Best's Ireland future still uncertain
NEWS: Ireland captain Rory Best is eager to conclude contract talks before the Six Nations gets underway.
Best's deal expires in June and the Ulster hooker wants his future sorted out before the end of this month.
"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."
The experienced British and Irish Lion believes he may still be capable of representing his country at the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year, when he will be 37.
"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."
Meanwhile, Ireland and Ulster wing Tommy Bowe has announced he will retire at the end of the season.
Bowe, who turns 34 next month, has won 69 Ireland caps over a 13-year-old period, and only Brian O'Driscoll has scored more than his 30 Ireland tries.
The flyer toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2009 and was also selected to take on Australia four years later.
He returned to Ulster following a spell with Ospreys in 2012 and will end his career with his native province.
Bowe came up with a poem to reveal his playing days are coming to an end, tweeting:
I’ve spent most of my career in Belfast,— Tommy Bowe (@TommyBowe14) January 15, 2018
At first George said I wasn’t very fast,
I eventually found my gears,
Had some incredible years,
But it’s time to tell you - this is my last! pic.twitter.com/KZa8Rwk4G1
Bowe, a member of Ireland’s 2009 Grand-Slam winning team, is currently sidelined with a sternum injury. He scored one of Ireland’s most memorable tries to help secure the title against Wales in Cardiff.