'I’ll always consider Ireland my second home': Leinster's Michael Bent announces retirement

'I’ll always consider Ireland my second home': Leinster's Michael Bent announces retirement

Leinster's Devin Toner and Michael Bent lift the Guinness PRO14 trophy as Leinster are champions. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Leinster prop Michael Bent has announced he will retire at the end of the current season.

New Zealand born Bent, who was capped with Ireland on four occasions, has played over 150 times for the province since making his debut against Zebre in December 2012.

Bent won a Heineken Champions Cup, a Challenge Cup and six domestic Guinness PRO12/14 titles in a silverware-laden nine years with the club.

The prop will return to New Zealand with his wife and children after Leinster's involvement in the Rainbow Cup.

"Firstly I’d like to express my gratitude for the support I’ve received throughout my time with Leinster. Leinster supporters are world class," Bent said.

"I’m aware that not everyone gets the opportunity to have nine years with a team especially not one the calibre of Leinster so for that in itself, I’m incredibly grateful. I’ve been lucky enough to play alongside and against some of the greats with a team that has achieved so much.

"My career has seen its share of ups and downs and I’m grateful for it all as it has led me to where I am today both professionally and within my life outside of rugby.

"I couldn’t have done this without the support of my wife, Celyse, my children Emme and Eli and my family. I’m looking forward to the start of our future back home in New Zealand on our family farm and hopefully I’ll be able to keep myself involved in the local rugby scene in some way.

"I owe this opportunity and the last nine years to my grandmother, Myrtle, and her incredible journey from Rathmines in Dublin to New Zealand all those years ago. I hope I have made her proud and my only wish is that she could have been there to see me play and to pull on the blue of Leinster and the green of Ireland.

"I’ll always consider Ireland my second home. It’s the birthplace of my children and it holds so many memories for me and my family.

"It’s a unique season to be retiring on and I do hope before the boots are hung up for good that there might be supporters back in the stands."

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen led the tributes to Bent:

"Since arriving in Ireland and shortly after going on to make his Ireland debut, Michael has gone on to represent Leinster 155 times. With so many demands on our squad, including multiple players away on international duty, Benty has delivered rock-solid performances season after season, as well as providing much-needed leadership and guidance for the younger players.

"There is huge affection for Michael within the group and everyone will have seen what a popular figure he is when he got on stage with Fards (Scott Fardy) and Dev (Toner) to lift the Guinness PRO14 trophy recently.

"We would like to wish Michael, his wife Celyse and their two children Emme and Eli safe travels and the best of luck as they begin the next phase of their life back in New Zealand," Cullen added.

Bent will look to end on another high as Leinster's PRO14 Rainbow Cup campaign gets underway on Saturday when Munster come to the RDS.

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