Sean Cronin has made a big impact from the bench in the opening two fixtures of the RBS 6 Nations. We caught up with him to discuss whether Ireland can lift the trophy, life after BOD and his toughest opponents.
GR: Sean, you’ve got two wins from two in RBS 6 Nations, are you confident as a group that you can retain the trophy you won so thrillingly last year?
SC: The confidence is high after a great autumn series but we know the RBS 6 Nations is a difficult tournament that is extremely tough to win, let alone retain.
GR: Of course, this year you have to do it without the legendary Brian O’Driscoll. How big of a loss is someone like BOD to the squad and how do you replace that influence?
SC: The loss of Brian this year has of course been tough to deal with. His leadership and experience alone were vital, but we've some fantastic players waiting to fill the void.
GR: Have other players taken it upon themselves to step up and become leaders within this Ireland squad?
SC: Yes we have some huge leaders in the group that have massive experience at this level and beyond. Also, some great young players like Robbie Henshaw and Ian Madigan are such talented players.
GR: Who is the toughest opponent you have come up against in your career?
SC: Toughest opponent would have been William Servat. Playing against him at such a young age taught me a few things!
GR: Inevitably, the subtext to this tournament is the Rugby World Cup – how far ahead do you look knowing that that is just 7 or so months away?
SC: The World Cup at this stage seems like a lifetime away with such massive games coming up, but these games do offer a great chance to put your hand up for future selection.
GR: Finally, what have you made of the Gilbert Match-XV ball, which is being used for the first time in every 6 Nations match?
SC: The new Gilbert balls are fantastic. By far and away my favourite ball to throw with!
Off The Field
GR: Which lookalike do you get most in the Ireland squad?
SC: Favourite lookalike would be David Kilcoyne. (Gilbert Rugby note: Doppleganger)
GR: Who’s the worst in the Ireland squad for always ‘checking in’ with the Mrs?
SC: Rob Kearney.
GR: Craig Doyle described you as ‘stumpy’ recently – do you get that a lot or was it just a bad camera angle?
SC: No never been called stumpy, called a lot worse, I'll take stumpy!
GR: If you could swap places with anyone in the Ireland squad who would it be, and why?
SC: Conor Murray. Secretly there's a scrum half in me - plus he's a handsome man!
GR: If you could pick any GAA player to switch over to rugby and play for Leinster, who would it be?
SC: I reckon Diarmuid Comnolly for Dublin. Big and Strong with great skill.
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