Cronin talks up Llanelli but not his contractual thoughts


Connacht had hoped to lure Ireland’s Seán Cronin back to the Sportsground. However, reports in December that the 26-year-old was set to agree a new deal with Leinster shot down a reunion with the province where he had spent three years.

Yesterday the Leinster and Ireland hooker refused to expand on his thoughts after his contract expires at the end of the season. It’s not that he doesn’t know, more he just won’t say.

“My own future is sorted and there’ll be an announcement in the next couple of weeks,” he said. No expansion, no contractual distractions in Heineken Cup week.

Cronin may well welcome his good friend, lock Mike McCarthy, to the RDS rather than the other way around and whether that meeting will come after a Leinster Heineken Cup run that stretches beyond the early days of January will be decided on Saturday.

Cronin is not blinded by Llanelli’s poor run of form. His reference points come from an early-season meeting when the Welsh side sent Leinster home beaten dockets.

“They’re an extremely dangerous team. They’re wounded at the moment,” he said.

“They got well beaten in Ulster but if you look back at the start of the season, they gave us a right hammering over there.

Quality players

“They have quality players, there’s a list of potential Lions there. There’s nothing more dangerous than a wounded team and they’re coming over here with a lot of experienced players who can rally the group. We know they’re going to be a formidable challenge.

“They are too dangerous a side to be talking tries and getting five points. It’s about getting the win first. They can score from anywhere and make line breaks – they have very good backs like Jonathan Davies and George North, if he plays, these guys are world class – so it’s about getting momentum in the game nice and early and trying to stamp our authority.”

A hooker’s game is rarely more colourfully imaginative than marginal advantages in the set-piece, breakdown and around the field. The scrum can sometimes be chess as much as grunt or angles and while Cronin is a familiar sight whaling down a pitch making his own yards, he’s in the frontrow.

“At the weekend, we managed to pile a lot of pressure on Edinburgh by carrying a lot of ball to grind them down,” he says. “That will be something we’ll be looking to do again at the weekend. We don’t want to get involved in sevens game, throwing the ball around because they’re extremely dangerous and they’ve quality everywhere.

“It’s about sticking to what we’re good at and what we’ve focused on during the week. That’s what we’ll try to get into action this week.”

He looks at this week’s journey as pressurised but “exciting pressure”, the cup final feel bringing its own emotions, the nervous energy of the effectively knockout scenario inviting nerves. But the manifestation of the growing heat and requirements to win big against the Welsh, he feels is not a bad energy for the Leinster players. A touch of fear provides an edge to appetites and the competitive tension in the group will be no hindrance to it firing on the day.

“Things can be a small bit tetchy,” said Cronin. “That brings the best out of people. From observing this group of players, that type of thing motivates people and raises standards. So I can only see it being a good thing.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Screen Name Selection


Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.