An extremely strong and physical player, Rory is highly regarded by his team mates and opposition alike.
He was educated at Portadown College and studied Agriculture at Newcastle University where he played with the Newcastle Falcons Academy.
He returned home to join Belfast Harlequins in 2002 where he captained the team and gained his first Ulster contract in 2004. He made his debut in the 2004-05 season coming on as a replacement at home to Munster in the Celtic League.
Rory made his Ireland debut against the All Blacks at Lansdowne Road in November 2005.
In 2007 he was a member of the Irish teams that won the Six Nations Triple Crown and particptaed in the Rugby World Cup. He also played in the Ireland team which completed the 2009 Six Nations Grand Slam.
He captained the Ireland team that toured North America in 2009, while many of Ireland's other stars were on the British and Irish Lions team that began their tour of South Africa at the same time.
He also took over as captain during the 2012 Six nations with Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell ruled out through injury.
Rory captained Ulster for four seasons from 2007 - 2011, taking over the role from his brother Simon. A powerful scrummager and slick lineout operator, he received the Bank of Ireland Ulster Player of the Year Award at the end of the 2008/09 season.
In 2010/11 he led Ulster to the Heineken Cup quarter final for the first time in 12 years and also the Magners League semi-finals. the following season he played a standout role as the side progressed to the final.