Tight fit suits Bent
Prop happy with Irish bow as his fine debut smoothes over contentious selection
TIGHTHEAD problem? What tighthead problem?
IRELAND'S Michael Bent's resounding success in the single darkest art of scrummaging during a 10-minute cameo against South Africa has already fed into the Ireland management's confidence that they now have two international standard cornerstones.
"It is something I will never forget," Bent said, in his first media appearance since arriving in Ireland for the first time just under two weeks ago.
"There were a lot of nerves. It was a very big moment. Building up to the game, I tried to go through my processes. Being out there, in front of all those people, being part of the team, was a really enjoyable moment."
He didn't mind coming off the bench too much either: "You definitely get a chance to see the game. Coming onto the field, you can see the angles the other prop is taking and you have to try to counter that.
"There is a little advantage in that sense. You have more time to prepare in your head as to how you are going counter it."
The impact at scrum time was a significant, giant-sized consolation, in consideration of Ireland's long-term prospects for the 2015 World Cup, and Bent must be a strong candidate to start against Fiji for a non-capped international at Thomond Park on Saturday.
If Bent performed 'Danny Boy' - this was his post-match song choice as a first cap - as well as he cornered and crumpled the South African scrum, then there would have been a collective nod of approval.
How did it feel to win that penalty? "I already felt a part of the team. But, at any stage out on the field, when something goes well in play and you've got guys patting you on the back it always feels great.
"It was obviously one of those moments when something goes well in the game and I was stoked to get that," he said.
Bent chose the path of least resistance when answering the question of the mixed attitude to being parachuted straight into the national team.
"I knew there were a few mixed opinions out there. I respect that. People are entitled to have their own opinion.
"For me, I was asked if I wanted to be a part of it," he said.
"Having Irish heritage, which I am very proud of, it was certainly something I was never going to turn down. I didn't really read too much of what was going around in the media.
"I have been out and around a wee bit and anyone I have bumped into in the public and had a chat to have all been really positive.
"I've felt really good about being a part of it."
The guardians of the game here in Ireland, in other words the Irish Rugby Football Union, are those charged with protecting and growing the sport in a pyramid shaped business which starts and ends with the best interests of the national team.
That is not Bent's area of expertise.