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Leinster hooker Sean Cronin 'will return a better player' as injury shatters his Six Nations hopes

By David Kelly

Leinster expect hooker Sean Cronin to be out for 10 weeks with a hamstring injury, ruling him out of the RBS Six Nations.

The 31-year-old, who has 56 caps, was anticipated to be Rory Best's deputy in the tournament.

But Cronin suffered the hamstring tear against Zebre and is out for more than two months, Leinster said yesterday.

Ireland's Six Nations campaign begins against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 4.

Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster said: "It's quite a significant hamstring injury. It's a real shame for him as he's 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 disappointed but he'll be back a better player."

Meanwhile, Leinster are satisfied that they adhered to all the necessary protocols in their treatment of Jonathan Sexton after the player, who has had a history of multiple concussions, received another heavy blow in last Friday night's Champions Cup clash with Montpellier.

"We're happy that he passed it and was back on the field," said Lancaster. "If he hadn't passed it then he wouldn't have been back on the field. You've just got to trust the medical team.

"We're in the coaches box, he gets taken off, we get the message that he's passed the HIA 1, 2 and 3 and as a consequence is back on the field. It is what it is."

Dr Barry O'Driscoll, who resigned as World Rugby medical chief because of this issue, claimed weekend incidents confirmed the association "had lost control of concussion."

He said: "Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton should have been off. Concussion was suspected in both, both have a history of suspected (concussion), both had brain injuries and both were put back on because they passed the protocols."

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