Cronin: I'll repay faith shown in me
Young Munster prop James Cronin says he is determined to grasp every chance that comes his way as he tried to make a name for himself in the red shirt.
Cronin made his 10th appearance of the season in Munster's 31-10 win away to Cardiff last weekend and picked up his third try at the same time. After such a dream elevation to the Reds first team, the abrasive loose-head wants to repay the faith that Rob Penney has shown in him.
Veteran front-rows Marcus Horan and Wian du Preez both left the province in the off-season, but Cronin (22) was thrilled to see that the coaches had enough confidence in himself and Dave Kilcoyne not to recruit replacements.
"Rob or the lads didn't bring anyone in, so they obviously saw me coming through. It gives me loads of confidence and, in fairness, Rob's always been good to me," said Cronin.
"I like playing with ball in hand and he always says to play what's in front of me. He is a great coach to instil confidence in young fellas and that's a real positive.
"I had a few good games at the start of the season and I was happy with the way the season has gone so far. I've been involved in every game so far, it's gone brilliant. I couldn't ask for it to go any better. I'm really enjoying it. hopefully, I'll keep it going and keep the form going.
"They put me forward and I've backed up those performances and they knew it wasn't a fluke or anything," said the Dolphin prop.
Cronin, who graced his first start with a try against Edinburgh, has shared the propping duties with Kilcoyne to date this season and perhaps would have expected an unimpeded run in the side around the November internationals.
Kilcoyne's absence from Joe Schmidt's squad slightly reduced his game time in the last few weeks, but he is still quick to point to his direct opponent as a huge inspiration.
"Yeah, it's massive, you see how fast his career has progressed. He is an international now with how many caps? Obviously, that's the goal for any young player.
"Hopefully, I'll do the exact same thing as Dave. That's my goal anyway, to go on and play for Ireland like any young player. It's really exciting to see him do it, so, hopefully I can follow suit.
"I can't see into the future, but if I keep my form and keep doing what I'm doing, I'll get selected. I'll take it one game at a time, that's my approach.
"There will be lots of opportunities, not just for me but for lads coming behind me as well. Just have to take the chance with both hands. You only get a few opportunities in these environments and you just have to take it when they come around," he said.