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.