Ireland captain Best hopeful ankle injury is not season-ending

Ireland captain Rory Best is hopeful an ankle injury sustained in Ulster's European Champions Cup quarter-final defeat to Leinster will not end his season.

Best was on crutches and wearing a protective boot after suffering ligament damage in the first half of a heart-breaking 21-18 defeat at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

The hooker is expected to be fit for the Rugby World Cup and is optimistic he can play a part in Ulster's bid to win the Pro14 title.

"I would hope to play some part in the end of the season for Ulster, which will be a big goal now," said the 36-year-old, who is set to retire from international rugby after the World Cup in Japan.

"There is no structural damage, just little bit of a wrenching of the ligaments, really.

"They [the Ulster medical staff] have given this magical figure of six weeks but are not really sure because a lot of it will depend on when I come out of the boot, how I weight bare, how I run and if the swelling comes out quickly.

"I still hope there will be rugby left for me this season with Ulster."

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