An emotional Rory Best thanked Joe Schmidt for "transforming the game" in Ireland as he made a tearful farewell to the Aviva Stadium after Saturday's defeat of Wales.

That 19-10 win hoisted Ireland up to No 1 in the world rankings ahead of Wednesday's departure to Japan for the World Cup, and was a fitting bookend to Best's 14-year career in green

He'll retire after the autumn's tournament and was playing on the Lansdowne Road ground for the last time.

Best recalled making his debut back in 2005, as a replacement against New Zealand, and savoured the many golden memories he's accrued in his lengthy international service.

"I can still remember coming off the bench and coming down into the corner here into a scrum alongside my brother (Simon)," he told RTÉ Sport.

"Those are the things you remember, the little bits and pieces, the trips to the stadium on the bus, the moments after the games when you look around the stadium and everyone's wrecked, when you've given your all for this jersey.

"These moments are made special by your team by your family and by so many people.

"I told myself I wouldn't get emotional, but this place has been unbelievably special for me over many, many years now. The support we got today has summed up the support we've had throughout my career. 

"It's been unbelievably special to play for this country."

Best had glowing praise for Schmidt, who will also walk away from Ireland after the World Cup.

The two have enjoyed some incredible highs as captain and coach - a Grand Slam, three Six Nations titles, two defeats of the All Blacks - and Best was keen to talk up his huge influence.

"It would be remiss of me not to mention a coach that came into Ireland a good few years ago. He has transformed the international game here.

"I've been very privileged to work with him as a player and a captain. I can't be grateful enough for everything Joe Schmidt has done for me, for the team and for the country. 

"It's nice to get a performance you can be proud of to finish up. It's a little bit different here to when I was five or six years old and first came, but it's a great place to play, and in the future it will be a great place for me to come and support most of these boys that are here."