Monday 10 December 2018

Bent: I've become more proud of my Irish roots

Michael Bent Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Bent Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Michael Bent has never sought the limelight, even when he was parachuted straight into the Ireland team before having played for Leinster, and when he racks up his 100th appearance for the province on Friday night, he will happily continue to keep his head down.

"There have been a few ups and downs along the way," the 31-year-old admits.

In more recent times, however, Bent has become happier in his role at Leinster. With Tadhg Furlong and Andrew Porter with Ireland for the next few games, Bent's experience is even more important.

To add to that, he recently became a father for the first time when his wife gave birth to their daughter Emmerson.

Reflecting on his journey from New Zealand to Dublin, Bent has no regrets, even if the early days were difficult.

"The Irish heritage played a big part, which is something I've grown more proud of in my time over here. I've learned more about it.

"I had family over here already so that was a thing which motivated me to come and Leinster already had a lot of success by that stage.

"It's a big club and that seemed like a great opportunity to come over and play for this club.

"My brother and sister are both living here in Dublin. My sister was here for a good six years before I came over and my brother moved over here last year.

"It is something which will be quite cool for her (daughter) years down the track when she can say that she was born in Ireland wherever we may end up. It's certainly changed my life a wee bit but it's enjoyable."

Leinster resume their Guinness PRO14 campaign away to Edinburgh on Friday and while it goes without saying that Bent would rather be with the Ireland squad, the chances of him adding to his four caps look slim, for now at least.

"There were times when I've felt hard done by and that but you can't change it," he conceded. "Early on, it (set-piece) was something I struggled with and I've been swapping between loosehead and tighthead and that makes it hard to concentrate on one and get really strong at one.

"You've just got to keep working hard and look forward to the future. These four games are going to be very important for the season overall and that's the focus for the moment."

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