Monday, May 27, 2019
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Leinster: Sean Cronin, the revenge hooker who tests the tests – European Cups

The number 2 of the province of Dublin, discarded in the last tournament of the six nations, is the co-best scorer of this edition of the Champions Cup. He wants to prove his value to coach Joe Schmidt before the World Cup.

He scored two tries this season against Stade Toulousain. One at each confrontation in the group stage of the Champions Cup. Before Sunday's semifinal against the Reds and Blacks, Sean Cronin is even the co-best of the continental competition – along with his compatriot, Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale – after scoring 6 tries. A great performance for this hooker who has a well-honed track record: he won the tournament three times, including a Grand Slam, and twice won the European Cup. Enough to be a must in Ireland?

»READ ALSO – Garry Ringrose, the center of Leinster, is admiring the game of Toulouse

Far from it … The native of Limerick – who previously played for Munster (2007-2008) and Connacht (2008-2011) before joining Leinster in 2011 – has lived his entire international career in the shadow of Rory Best, Irish captain and Ulster player. If Cronin accumulates 68 selections today, his tenure can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Just a dozen … A situation similar to that experienced by Dimitri Szarzewski, who had to evolve in the shadow of Raphael Ibanez, William Servat and Guilhem Guirado. This year, against Italy, Cronin celebrated his first tenure in the Six Nations Tournament. For a capital misfire. The XV of Trefoil imposed without shining (16-26) and the failures in touch of his hooker were screaming. So much so that coach Joe Schmidt has dismissed for the last two meetings against France and Wales.

"I was disappointed, of course, but no, I was not the scapegoat. It's like that…"

Sean Cronin on his Tournament

At the approach of the clashes with the Leinster, which aims as Toulouse a fifth continental title, the number 2 Leinstermen confided in a press conference on this painful episode: "I was disappointed, of course, but no, I was not the scapegoat. It's like that … Even when I was not retained last year, I saw it as a chance to come back here and that's what I see now. It's something big. Whatever happened, it happened. I am a mentally resilient person, I can learn from the events that happened and the mistakes I made. You have to take the ups and downs and just try to improve yourself. "

Convince Joe Schmidt

And Sean Cronin explains his way of seeing things: "Do not sulk, do not be too hard on yourself, look next time as an opportunity to prove. That's what I'm trying to do. Honestly, since returning from the Tournament, I did not sing, I did not dance, and I did not do tricks on myself. My form has been good, but I would like to play a little better. "Through his performances with the Leinster, Sean Cronin has to prove to his former Leinster coach, Joe Schmidt, that he deserves a ticket to the World Cup at Japan (September 20th-November 2nd).

In any case, it will be to be the lining of Rory Best, the irresistible Irish captain. The latter has announced that he will retire at the end of the Nippon World Cup at age 37 (he will celebrate them in August). Sean Cronin, 32, will stay for a few years to try to win in the national team as he did with Leinster, the best province in the Green Erin. "It's clear that I have something to prove," he admits. When you are a professional player, you always want to improve yourself, face the best and prove to yourself what you are worth. I am hopeful that I will have the opportunity to do this weekend. "

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