Saturday 25 January 2020

Bent to boost Leinster


Heineken Cup holders Leinster had the perfect warm-up for next week's quarter-final when they defeated Munster 18-9 in a Pro 12 derby at Thomond Park last night.

But even as they close in on a thrilling end to their season, Leinster are already planning ahead and will replace one Kiwi prop with another for next season, though the new model will come equipped with an Irish passport.

Michael Bent, currently with the Hurricanes Super 15 squad who lost at home to the Cheetahs yesterday, will arrive in Dublin over the summer to replace Nathan White, who is headed for Connacht at the end of the season.

Bent's arrival will give Leinster at least three senior and Ireland-qualified players to select from at tighthead: Mike Ross, Jamie Hagan, and Bent, who can play both sides of the scrum, as well as Tadhg Furlong who is coming through from the Ireland under 20 side, and Jack O'Connell who is in the Academy.

On the other side of the scrum Heinke van der Merwe will be their only non-Ireland qualified player, and they already have Cian Healy and Jack McGrath in that position, as well as Martin Moore in the Academy.

Meanwhile, Stephen Ferris faces a race against time to be fit for Ulster's Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with Munster next Sunday. Ferris came off with an ankle injury in his side's six-try win over Aironi on Friday night and is set for a scan tomorrow to determine the extent of the injury.

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