Saturday 10 December 2016

Fogarty warns Cronin of hooker battle

Published 01/06/2011 | 05:00

John Fogarty
John Fogarty

FORMER Leinster hooker John Fogarty has warned Sean Cronin that he faces a tough battle to wrest the No 2 jersey off Richardt Strauss next season.

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The capture of the Irish international from Connacht is seen as a big coup for Joe Schmidt next season, but the South African's displays last season mean he will be a hard man to shift.

Fogarty made a similar move from the west to the east in 2008 and had to bide his time behind Bernard Jackman before winning a starting spot, and he feels Cronin may have to do the same.

And given that Strauss will qualify for Ireland through residency midway through next season, Fogarty believes he holds plenty of aces.

"It's going to be tough. Richardt has been unbelievable, and he's qualified for Ireland next year," he said.

"Cronin, I think when he signed he was saying, 'nice one', but having seen how Richardt has played he knows it's going to be a tough fight to be number one.

"Joe's a smart guy and he uses his squad really well. It will be a little like the scrum-half situation, that's worked really well. It's probably tough for him, but he'll probably get game time -- he's a class player but they are similar.

"Richardt was really tired at various times during the season. He played an awful lot of rugby. It will be interesting to see how they go, but it's all good for Leinster."

Fogarty retired early last season after suffering from a series of head injuries. The headaches that plagued him have cleared up now and next season he will coach the forwards at AIL champions Old Belvedere and is in discussions with Leinster about a role with the academy, where he hopes to learn from scrum guru Greg Feek.

Meanwhile, flanker Shane Jennings yesterday underwent surgery on the arm he fractured against Munster and faces a race to be fit for the World Cup warm-ups.

Irish Independent

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