Munster add Neil Cronin to Champions Cup roster

Scrumhalf will provide cover for Conor Murray and Alby Mathewson at the province

 

Munster have added scrumhalf Neil Cronin to their Heineken Champions Cup squad in time for Saturday’s clash with the Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park in the light of the continuing absence of Lions and Ireland number nine Conor Murray, James Hart (leg) and a knee injury picked up by New Zealander Alby Mathewson in the province’s defeat to Leinster at the Aviva stadium last weekend.

The 25-year-old Cronin, a brother of Leinster hooker Sean, was given a one-year contract by Munster coach Johann van Graan, three years after a brief spell with the province - he made four appearances off the bench totalling 15-minutes - aged 22 (2014). In the interim he played with Garryowen in the All-Ireland League and also the Ireland Clubs international team, whom he also captained.

He qualified as a teacher and taught technical graphics and technology in St Munchin’s College in Limerick while also coaching the school to a first Munster Schools Junior Cup title in 20 years. He’s a bright lively presence, a fine footballer and also a place-kicking option and in accepting Van Graan’s offer wanted to give professional rugby a second go.

The results of a scan that Mathewson - he was signed on a short term four-month deal following Murray’s injury problems - underwent have not been disclosed yet but the 32-year-old former All Black is unlikely to be fit for the weekend. That means that Van Graan must choose between Duncan Williams, Cronin, happily recovered from a shoulder injury, and former Ireland Under-20 international and Shannon scrumhalf Jack Stafford.

Connacht have added Australian outhalf and centre David Horwitz to their playing roster ahead of their Challenge Cup clash with Bordeaux-Begles this weekend. He replaces the injured Craig Ronaldson.

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