Ireland hooker Rory Best has revealed his dismay at not being selected for this summer’s Lions tour of Australia to the Belfast Telegraph.
The Ulster and Ireland No 2 has had a poor season by his own high standards, and as a result Lions head coach Warren Gatland opted to bring England’s Dylan Hartley and Tom Youngs, as well as Wales’ Richard Hibbard, as his three hookers for the trip Down Under.
In an interview with Niall Crozier, Best said: "It will take a long time to get completely over it.
"It's very disappointing, but unfortunately that's sport; you don't always get your own way. Obviously if I was selecting the tour I'd be on it but that's not the way it goes."
"I left training and went home, spent the afternoon with my family and just tried to not think about it" - Rory Best
The Ulsterman also revealed that he was not warned of his omission from the squad prior to the public announcement.
“"There was no advance call,” he said. “Everyone watched in at 11 o'clock and we happened to be training.
“I suppose I just got wind of it by the fact that everyone was avoiding me and no-one was making eye-contact with me.
"As the session went on and we got further past 11 it became more and more obvious that it wasn't happening. Eventually Dan Tuohy just came up, shook my hand and said, 'Commiserations'. That was just it.
"People don't avoid you when it's good news. It was bitterly disappointing, it really was.
"I left training and went home, spent the afternoon with my family and just tried to not think about it. But at the end of the day it's the pinnacle of anyone's rugby career and you hope and pray you're close.
"You know you're close and you hope you're going to be on that plane and when you're told you're not it's obviously disappointing.
"This sport that I love so much has given me a lot of highs and unfortunately with highs come lows and you just have to take them and try to roll with it as best you can."
The Craigavon, Co Armagh, man went on to state he would be pouring all his energy into Ulster's RaboDirect PRO12 campaign, and that it was a relief to have something to take his mind of his Lions disappointment.
Best said: "The good thing with where we are with this Ulster season is that you have to dust yourself down very quickly.
"We trained today and the slagging nearly started immediately we took to the field.
"You get yourself ready. We have a massive game on Friday night – we have a league to turn round and win now."
Ulster face Cardiff Blues in the PRO12 tonight at 1945 at Ravenhill. Victory against the Welsh side will see the Irish province top the league table heading into the play-offs.