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Cronin out to make crucial point to Kidney

Jerry Flannery's long-awaited return from injury has garnered most of the attention ahead of the opening World Cup warm-up against Scotland, but there is another Irish hooker with a great deal to play for in Murrayfield this afternoon.

Sean Cronin has been on the international scene for nearly two years now and, with Flannery out injured for most of that period, has become a regular fixture in Declan Kidney's squad, most usually as back-up to Rory Best.

His 12 caps have brought just four starts, the most significant being against New Zealand and Australia on last summer's injury-ravaged tour, when Cronin came through well in difficult circumstances. He started the dogged wins over Samoa and Argentina last November also, but his Six Nations was reduced to cameo roles in each of the five outings.

Thus, Cronin's heads into today's encounter overflowing with enthusiasm. Ireland will take three hookers to the World Cup and, the expectation is that, if Flannery comes through August back to fitness and form, the pecking order will be Flannery, Best and Cronin in that order.

While aware of the realities of the hooker rankings, Cronin is also aware that this afternoon is a chance to make a point.

“I'm a couple of years involved (with Ireland) and I'd like to think I'm firmly in the management's plans for the World Cup,” says Cronin.

“Having competition is the thing that drives you, especially with Jerry coming back on to the scene. If you get a chance, you are going to have to do your best.”

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