Les Kiss worked with Rory Best for seven years while he was Ireland assistant coach before becoming Ulster’s director of rugby

Ulster hooker Rory Best is “hugely deserving” of the honour of winning 100 caps for Ireland, says the Pro12 club’s director of rugby Les Kiss.

Ireland captain Best, 34, is set to reach the milestone during the autumn international series in November.

He will equal Sale scrum-half Peter Stringer’s 98 caps in Saturday’s Test against New Zealand in Chicago, USA.

“I find him one of the toughest players who’s ever been up there – he’s got all the qualities you’d expect,” said Kiss.

“To have passed 90 caps is special for the uncompromising way he plays the game, so to reach 100 caps would be some occasion, too.

“He’s had his injuries in his time, but he’s robust, resilient and just keeps coming, keeps working hard to improve each year.

“We’d love to see him hit the 100-cap milestone in the autumn, because he’d be hugely deserving of that.”

Rory Best made his international debut for Ireland as a replacement against New Zealand in Dublin in November 2005

Best has captained Ireland since lock Paul O’Connell’s injury-enforced retirement after the World Cup in 2015.

He will lead Joe Schmidt’s side in two matches in three weeks against the All Blacks, as well as Canada and Australia in the upcoming November series.

“As a leader, he just demands that you turn up and aim up – and he can back it up,” added Kiss.

“You just look at what he does for any team he plays for, he’s one of the most dogged, toughest guys you can play against.

“He’s a leader by example. There’s not always too many words – but when the words are there, they are strong, poignant and they mean something.”


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