Saturday 24 August 2019

Cronin relishing Baa-Baas opportunity at Thomond Park

Munster prop James Cronin. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster prop James Cronin. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

There will be plenty of Irish interest on show in Thomond Park this evening when the Barbarians take on Tonga (7.30 kick-off).

Munster's James Cronin and Brian Scott start in the front-row, with Quinn Roux packing down behind them, while Jordi Murphy is at blindside flanker.

Cronin will be desperate to get some valuable minutes under his belt having been dogged by injuries this season, while Brian Scott is very much emerging into a reliable tighthead.

"You get to wear your club socks and represent where you're from, and it's such a prestigious club," Cronin said.

"It's an opportunity everyone wants. I know what a great honour it is to play for the Barbarians and I've seen some unbelievable players over the years and I know what a privilege it is to wear the shirt.

"There are players coming in from all round the world, all great players, and it's fantastic to be involved and to do it at Thomond Park."

Donncha O'Callaghan will make an emotional return to the Limerick venue, perhaps for the final time as he prepares to hang up his boots at the end of the season, as he is named amongst the replacements alongside John Muldoon.

O'Callaghan has been in Sierra Leone this week with Unicef but was never going to pass up the opportunity to play at his former stomping ground.

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Meanwhile, for the first time, the Barbarians will field a women's team as they take on Munster before the men's game (4.45 kick-off).

Former internationals Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapleton will be amongst the Irish faces involved for the Baa-baas, while new Munster coach Laura Guest, who takes charge of her first game, has opted to field two different XVs for each half.

Barbarians (v Tonga) - G Bridge; T Naiyaravoro, R Buckman, H Vorster, V Aso; R du Preez, N Stirzaker; J Cronin, A van der Merwe, B Scott; G Parling (capt), Q Roux; J Murphy, S Favaro, W Britz. Reps: A Strauss, J van Rooyen, R Smith, D O'Callaghan, J Muldoon, A Ellis, D Smith, S Carter.

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