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

Bent, who joined Leinster in 2012 and has been capped on four occasions by Ireland, has played on 155 occasions for the club since his debut against Zebre in December 2012.

During his time at Leinster, Bent has won a a Heineken Champions Cup, a Challenge Cup and six domestic Guinness Pro12/14 titles. He will be hoping to add another Champions Cup medal to his collection before the end of the season.

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

"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’ll always consider Ireland my second home. It’s the birth place 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. If not, it has been a privilege. Thank you."

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen led the tributes to the much-loved front rower when commenting, "we will all be sorry to say goodbye to Michael Bent, who will undoubtedly go down as one of the unsung heroes of Leinster Rugby."