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Tom Denton signs for Leinster rugby union team
NORTH Yorkshire rugby union forward Tom Denton has been snapped up by top Irish side Leinster.
The 24-year-old, brought up in Whitwell-on-the-Hill, has signed a two-year deal at the Dublin-based RaboDirect Pro 12 side following 60 appearances for Leeds Carnegie in a six-year stay with the Headingley club.
The 6ft 6in tall lock, who has been playing rugby since he was seven, started out at Malton & Norton and represented East Yorkshire, Yorkshire, North of England and England Under-18s while at The Gannock.
A former Lady Lumley’s School pupil in Pickering, he also represented York’s St Peter’s School at Twickenham in the Daily Mail Cup final.
Denton’s capture was announced as Leinster tied up details of a series of signings and contract extensions. He will be joined in Ireland by tight-head prop Michael Bent, who arrives from Super 15 side Hurricanes.
Leinster coach Joe Schmidt said: “We are delighted to announce these new extensions as well as welcoming Michael and Tom, who are two highly rated forwards who will add to the competitiveness in our pack over the coming seasons.”
Denton, whose brother Oli still plays at Leeds, quickly impressed academy coaches on his arrival in West Yorkshire and, in 2006, was part of a development XV that beat Wharfedale to win the Yorkshire Cup. He was named Academy player of the year in 2006/7.
He made a real impact in the Leeds first team in 2010, following the departure of Erik Lund, and was earmarked by former Carnegie coach Neil Back as a player that could play for England in the future.
Denton scored two tries while at Leeds and, initially, is expected to provide cover to locks Devin Toner and Leo Cullen at the perennial Heineken Cup challengers. He cites current England head coach Stuart Lancaster as being the person who has had the greatest influence on his career.
Bill Laidler, Malton club spokesman, said: “He came up through the junior set-up, although he didn’t play any senior rugby for us. His father is still involved with the club and this shows the strength of the junior set-up.
“It’s been a few years since he played for the juniors. He was at Leeds and was on loan at National One side Otley and he came up through the ranks with his brother Oli, who also plays at Leeds. We are very pleased for him and our junior outfits continue to do well.
“Our second team, which is made up of juniors, has won the East Yorkshire Premier Merit table after beating Beverley seconds.”