Friday 23 August 2019

Sean Cronin eager to end Boudjellal's dream of three-in-a-row

Sean Cronin answers questions at Leinster’s media conference ahead of Sunday’s clash against Toulon SPORTSFILE
Sean Cronin answers questions at Leinster’s media conference ahead of Sunday’s clash against Toulon SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal is never one to shy away from the limelight and the man who made his fortune from comic books has created a real life fantasy of his own through his hometown rugby team.

Say what you like about rugby's version of the Harlem Globetrotters but from both a commercial and playing point of view, Toulon have been a huge success.

Before Boudjellal came to the rescue, Racing Club Toulonnais were a club destined for the doldrums and although it has taken a few years to create the right method, the passionate supporters are reaping the rewards.

There is little comparison with what the likes of Leinster and the other three Irish provinces do as they tend to build their own dynasties on home-grown talent but in the aftermath of last weekend's Top 14 win over Bernard Jackman's Grenoble, Boudjellal took centre stage once again to reaffirm the club's goals for the season.

"We will never go on the field to lose. The goal is to win every game. Of course, the game next Sunday (against Leinster) is more important than this one (Grenoble)," he enthused.

"The primary objective is to achieve the treble in the European Cup, that's what the group has said it will do. It will be difficult as we are also committed to the Top 14."

Toulon are not yet the most successful club in the history of the European Cup (Toulouse have four titles) but should they go on to win a third title in a row, the tide would well and truly be turned.

Despite their class, Toulon are not the free-flowing side they once were, but then again neither are Leinster.

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"Their age profile is a bit high. I'm not too sure what the average is but we'll look to try and move the ball a bit and see," hooker Sean Cronin remarked this week.

"They're an awesome side, packed full of superstars, not just stars.

"The good thing is this is such a huge game, lads will turn themselves around quickly to get everyone on the same page for a massive week," he added.

The word 'massive' has been bandied all week but that is the reality of the scale that lies ahead for Leinster and with their backs very much against the wall, Cronin believes that the players have learned a lot from last year's quarter-final defeat to the French side.


"Two of their scores came from turnovers from us. Poor execution at the set-piece, so set-piece is going to be huge," the Limerick native said.

"They have star quality everywhere, threats at the breakdown, superb ball carriers.

"We have identified a few areas we are looking to attack them. We think that if we can get them right, it will go a long way to getting a result down there."

No one is underestimating the scale of the task that lies ahead for Leinster in Marseille on Sunday but they've been here before and pulled off an unexpected result.

Not only do they have the pedigree, but Leinster also have the players to be the villains of Boudjellal's real-life comic book saga.

The power to silence their vast amount of critics lies solely with the management and the squad.

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