Michael Bent gets instant nod for Ireland

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 31/10/2012
Michael Bent
Farifax NZ
IN IRELAND: Michael Bent has taken a sport in the Irish rugby team.

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Taranaki prop Michael Bent has stepped straight off a plane in Dublin and straight into the Ireland training squad.

Bent, 26, left New Zealand on Saturday to take up a contract with Heineken Cup holders Leinster after an outstanding season with Taranaki in the NPC.

Before he left, he believed it would take time for him to break into the Ireland squad off the back of some good performances for his new club.

But the Ireland selectors had different ideas and brought Bent into the fold as soon as he arrived to prepare for autumn internationals against South Africa, Argentina and Fiji.

His father, Roger, has had limited contact with his son since he landed in Ireland apart from an email to alert him to the sudden developments in his career.

"It's early days but there is a hell of a lot happening at the moment," Roger Bent said.

His son qualifies to play for the national team through his Irish grandmother.

It looks almost certain the 117kg prop will be released from the squad to turn out for Leinster for the first time against Ospreys in the PRO12 competition on Monday (NZ time).

After that game, he could be called back into the Ireland squad as the players prepare to take on South Africa at the Aviva Stadium on November 10.

Changes to international rugby rules allow teams to carry two props in an expanded reserves bench.

Back in New Zealand, Bent is one of the favourites to pick up the Taranaki player of the year award to be announced at the amber and black awards tomorrow night.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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