Bent remains on the double

Andrew Baldock

IT IS looking more and more likely that Michael Bent will play his first game for Leinster on Sunday and his first for Ireland on Saturday week.

The New Zealander tasted the Leinster environment for the first time at training yesterday and must be a short price to start at tight-head against The Ospreys in the PRO12 League on Sunday, or at least come off the bench. Bent certainly needs all the experience he can get in the Northern Hemisphere before he should be placed on the bench for Ireland against South Africa on November 10.

He moved up one from third to second behind Mike Ross in the Ireland tight-head rankings when it was revealed Declan Fitzpatrick was not passed fit to participate in contact training at the Ireland training camp this week.

"Prop Declan Fitzpatrick, who was being managed on a graduated return-to-play programme for a concussion sustained last Friday night, suffered a setback," reported an IRFU statement yesterday. "(He) will now be rested until Monday at which time he will recommence the testing procedures. This makes him unavailable for selection until he has completed this programme".

In addition, Munster full back Denis Hurley has been drafted in as the only out-and-out full-back, while Ulster's Paul Marshall, Craig Gilroy and Stephen Ferris have all been released back to their province, as has Munster's Ronan O'Gara.