Rory Best has been named as Ulster captain for next season, replacing Johann Muller, who left the province at the end of last season.

Ireland international Best has played 152 times for Ulster and first held the province’s captaincy from 2007 to 2011.

The 31-year-old has also captained Ireland on four occasions and led out the British & Irish Lions against the Brumbies in the 2013 tour to Australia.

"It is a huge honour to captain your province,” Best said. “I enjoyed doing it a few years ago but in 2011, I felt I just needed to step down and to concentrate on my game.

"We also had a ready-made captain in the squad in Johann [Muller] which made it easier and he did a fantastic job.

"It is nice to have been asked to do it again. With the extra experience that I have gained at provincial and international level in recent years I believe that I am more equipped than ever before to lead this group of players.

"Being the captain of Ulster is something that I absolutely love doing and I am looking forward to the challenge of the new season."