Irish international hooker Seán Cronin will miss the country’s Six Nations campaign after Leinster confirmed that the 30-year-old has picked up a ‘significant’ hamstring injury.
The issue, picked up during Leinster’s 70-6 demolition of Zebre ten days ago, looks set to keep Cronin out of action for a minimum of ten weeks.
The Limerick-native’s injury has come at the worst possible time, with Cronin expected to act as a vastly-experienced backup to captain Rory Best in the Irish squad.
The lengthy layoff could also see the Leinster man miss his club’s crucial Champions Cup quarter-final tie, set to take place at the beginning of April.
Speaking this afternoon, coach Stuart Lancaster spoke of his disappointment at the timing of Cronin’s injury:
‘It’s quite a significant hamstring injury.’
‘It’s a real shame for him as he’s actually playing great rugby but it’s a good opportunity for us to get him right and make sure we don’t get a recurrence of this because it must be hugely frustrating for him.’
‘He’s got himself into great form and now he’ll miss the Six Nations. He went to push-off and accelerate around the corner and saw it go. He’s deeply disappointed but he’ll be back a better player.’
It remains to be seen who will take Cronin’s place in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad, with the inexperienced trio of James Tracy, Niall Scannell and Dave Heffernan all now in contention based on today’s news.