Taranaki player of the year Michael Bent looks set to finally pull on a club jersey in Ireland.
After being whisked off the tarmac when he arrived in Ireland by the national selectors, Bent's new club, Heineken Cup champions Leinster, have yet to enjoy his services as the 26-year-old prop turned out for test matches against South Africa and Argentina, as well as an international against Fiji.
With Ireland's autumn international programme ending after their 46-26 thumping of Argentina, Bent has been released to play for Leinster in their RaboDirect PRO12 match away to bottom club Zebre.
Bent said his first taste of Ireland had been "a pretty amazing experience" and not what he had really expected when he boarded his plane from New Zealand.
"I certainly feel pretty honoured to have only been in the country for a month and being able to get two caps for Ireland," Bent said.
The former Hurricanes prop qualified to play for Ireland through his maternal grandmother.
He had no idea if he would figure in Ireland coach Declan Kidney's plans for the Six Nations, which starts in February. "It's certainly something that I'd love to be part of again and I will work hard for that," he said.
Bent finally joined his new club on Monday and said he was looking forward to extended game time after being limited to short appearances off the bench for Ireland.
Is this the best summer ever?Related story: Wellington sizzles in January heat