Iain Henderson has been confirmed as Ulster Rugby's new captain, taking over from Rory Best.

Best will retire from the game following the upcoming World Cup, and Henderson, who is likely to be a key figure in Joe Schmidt’s plans in Japan, will assume the role at Kingspan Stadium.

The 27-year-old made his Ulster and Ireland debut in the same year in 2012 and has amassed 105 appearances for the province.

The versatile lock has appeared 42 times for his country, winning three Six Nations titles, and was called up by the Lions for the 2017 tour to New Zealand.

"I'm incredibly proud and excited to be appointed captain," he said.

"I had a good chat with Dan (McFarland) and I think we’re closely aligned in terms of how we see Ulster moving forward.

"When I’ve captained Ulster on previous occasions, it’s been made a lot easier because of the presence of a number of great leaders around me. It really helps when you’ve got people like Al (O’Connor), Rob (Herring) and Marcell (Coetzee) behind you, who understand what you’re doing and provide unbelievable support."

Head coach McFarland said it was a logical decision following the departure of Best.

"As a leader, he has demonstrated his ability to command respect through his professionalism and talismanic play.

"Asking Iain to be captain was not a difficult decision and because he is surrounded by a squad of good men, I know that he will flourish."