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Best follows up OBE with Lions captaincy

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/06/2017 Angelo Risso
Rory Best © Getty Images Rory Best

The British and Irish Lions have had a wee bit of fun with Rory Best since he earned an Order of the British Empire on Saturday (NZT).

"They're now calling me Sir," Best says.

"Joe Marler won't let me carry my kit bag."

The modest Ulsterman - named to lead a midweek Lions squad into Tuesday's clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton - picked up the gong in last weekend's Queen's Birthday Honours list, for services rendered to British rugby.

A Test captain and centurion, Best has enjoyed a glittering career in the Irish green and Lions red - winning three Six Nations titles, the 2013 Lions tour to Australia and a landmark maiden victory over the All Blacks last November.

Jokes from his teammates aside, he was chuffed to receive the OBE.

"(Lions coach Warren) Gatland announced it in the team room, and forced me to get up and say a few words," the 34-year-old Best told reporters.

"It's all good fun but I think there was a lot of sincere congratulations as well, which is nice - when you're surrounded by the best players and they're coming up and giving you congratulations, it means a lot."

Best will pull on the No.2 jersey in Waikato on Tuesday, as his Lions side - made up almost entirely of those who will not play in the first Test on Saturday - fight to keep their selection hopes for later Tests alive.

Yet the matchday XXIII is by no means weak, with the likes of Greig Laidlaw, Dan Biggar, Dan Cole and Robbie Henshaw set to take part.

Best called on his teammates to do the business against the Chiefs, and serve as good team men by helping the Test troops with their preparations.

It'll be his fourth appearance in red in 2017, and eighth overall.

"When you look at our team, we're more than capable - we're geared up, we're used to playing with each other and you always want that little bit more, (so) we'll want a win on Tuesday night and ultimately (the) Test series," Best said.

"Whoever's lucky enough to take the field in those Tests, they're very fortunate, but it's our job as well to make sure everyone else is rallying around that."

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