On Wednesday May 7 at the Hibernia College IRUPA Rugby Players' Awards, former Ulster and Ireland prop Simon Best will become the 14th player to be inducted into the BNY Mellon IRUPA Hall of Fame.
2014 inductee Simon Best will join other greats such as Denis Hickie, John Hayes, Anthony Foley, David Humphreys and Keith Wood in the Players Association's Hall of Fame.
Simon represented and captained Ulster, Ireland 'A' and Ireland in a career that also saw him capped by Ireland at Schools, Under-19, Under-21 and Under-23 levels.
Hailing from Poyntzpass in County Armagh and educated at Portadown College and Newcastle University, he began his professional rugby career in 1996 on a semi-professional basis with Newcastle Falcons before joining his native Ulster in 1999.
In 2005 he took up the role of Ulster captain, a position he held for two years, leading the team to the Magners League title in the 2005/06 season.
He won his first senior Ireland cap as a replacement against Tonga in June 2003 and made his first start the following August in the Rugby World Cup warm-up game against Wales. He was subsequently selected in the 2003 Rugby World Cup squad.
He remained part of the Ireland squad for the next four years, scoring his first and only try for Ireland against Japan in the first test of the tour in 2005.
He captained Ireland in two Tests during their tour to Argentina in 2007 and was also selected for his second Rugby World Cup tournament later that year where he made three appearances before being ruled out due to a heart condition which ultimately saw his retirement from the game.
On hearing of his induction, Simon said: "I am extremely honoured to accept this award and am thrilled to be inducted into the BNY Mellon IRUPA Hall of Fame alongside some of Ireland's greatest rugby players."
Omar Hassanein, CEO of IRUPA, commented: "IRUPA is honoured to welcome Simon into the BNY Mellon IRUPA Hall of Fame, taking his place amongst some of the greats of the game in Ireland.
"Simon's commitment to Ulster and Irish rugby has been immense and such is his passion for the game that he continues to contribute to IRUPA through his involvement in establishing our Past Player Alumni."
BNY Mellon are also sponsors of the inaugural Women's Sevens Player of the Year for 2014 which will be presented at the Hibernia College IRUPA Rugby Players Awards which take place at Dublin's DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on Wednesday, May 7.
Ireland Women's Sevens captain Lucy Mulhall is in Langford this week for the Canada leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series. Following Ireland's Bowl win in Atlanta, Lucy previews our prospects this weekend.
Ireland Women's Sevens captain Lucy Mulhall speaks about the build-up to the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens tournament in Atlanta, Georgia. The girls in green begin the pool stages against France at 12.52pm local time/5.52pm Irish time today.
IRFU High Performance Manager Colin McEntee reflects on the Easter matches played by the Ireland Under-18 and Under-19 teams, which ended last weekend with wins over the England Counties U-18s and France U-19s.
Watch highlights of the Ireland Under-18s' seven-try 43-0 victory over Scotland during the inaugural U-18 Five Nations Festival in Caerphilly, Wales. Number 8 and captain Caelan Doris scored a hat-trick of tries and winger Daniel Hurley bagged a brace.
Railway Union's Kim Flood made her debut at full-back for the Ireland Women in last weekend's 14-3 Six Nations win over Italy. She is looking forward to experiencing the partisan crowd at Donnybrook again this Sunday when Scotland are the visitors. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.ie.
Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek spoke to Irish Rugby TV on the eve of the final round of the RBS 6 Nations Championship. He is happy that the team are focused but warns that it will be a tough encounter with Scotland tomorrow.
Looking forward to the lineout battle with Scotland, Ireland lock Devin Toner said: "We went well again Italy, I think our set piece went well. If we can just build on that and build on the positives then I think we'll be okay."
Joe Schmidt spoke to Irish Rugby TV this morning with an update on the squad, a look back at Ireland's nine-try win over Italy and a preview of our final match of the RBS 6 Nations Championship against Scotland.
Ireland Women's head coach Tom Tierney was pleased to see his new-look side come away with a 14-3 win over Italy. Full-back Kim Flood, winger Liz Burke and replacement centre Claire McLaughlin made their international debuts on the day.