Sunday 17 December 2017

Cronin wants to get the Best out of his system as Leinster look for confidence

Seán Cronin
Seán Cronin

Seán Cronin wouldn't be human if he didn't want a piece of Rory Best. The Leinster hooker fell from second-to-third in the Ireland pecking order at the World Cup.

It must gnaw away at him - not that he would ever admit to it as much because good professionals don't do so.

In general, they take their blows, physical and mental, and move on unfailingly and uncomplainingly.

"I think that's probably more of the mind frame that I'm in going up against a quality, quality player," said Cronin.

"Pitting yourself against the top players and seeing how you come out afterwards.

"I've been playing with Rory in the Ireland set up now for the last few years. I know what he can bring. He's a fabulous player.

"I think I have my own attributes as well that I hope I can bring to game the game on Friday and influence it."

There cannot be two more dissimilar hookers in Irish rugby, Best the better operator in the tight and Cronin the more explosive impact in the loose.

"I suppose I like to get into the game and try and get some ball carrying going and get into the game that way.

"I think I can also bring a bit of bite around the tackle area, it's something I have been working on since I came back from the World Cup

"Rory obviously has his strengths in and around the scrum and his fabulous work at the breakdown.

"They are different attributes. That's what makes it interesting."

The inter-provincial derbies can be a law onto themselves given what's at stake, the points, the banter rights, the national prize at the end of it.

"I think the fact it's a derby, there's always a great bite in those games," he said.

"I think Europe has been parked for now. We've got to come back to that in two weeks time when we've got two massive games against Toulon.

In the meantime, Leinster have Ulster at home and the champions Glasgow away on Saturday week.

The first one looks eminently more winnable.

"When the lads were away at the World Cup, the lads that stepped in did very well.

"We were going quite well in the League. We want to keep that momentum going.

Indeed, Leinster are up to fourth, five points behind leaders Connacht, one ahead of their guests Ulster.

"We just want to to get a good, 80-minute performance on Friday," he stressed.

"We know we're going to have to do that to be in with a chance to beat Ulster.

"We've got Ulster coming up behind us. A win is paramount on Friday."

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