LEINSTER HOOKER SEAN Cronin says he is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a hamstring tear and is hopeful of returning to action sooner than the initial 10-week prognosis.
The 30-year-old’s rehabilitation programme is progressing encouragingly and Cronin expects to be back running next week with Leinster’s Champions Cup quarter-final on the first weekend in April a realistic target to return by.
Cronin sustained the injury during the eastern province’s Guinness Pro12 trouncing of Zebre at the start of January and while the damage was significant, he was lucky in that the hamstring was not torn off the bone.
Nonetheless, the recovery process has been a gradual, and monotonous, one but the timing of the injury was the cruelest blow with Cronin forced to watch on rather than have a role in Ireland’s Six Nations campaign.
Watching from the outside looking in when you know you should be there must be an incredibly tough experience for any player.
“Look it was typical I suppose that Rory [Best] goes down….I think he had 50 Six Nations games on the bounce or something ridiculous,” Cronin joked.
“So I was sitting at home going ‘Yeah that’s the way it always goes, isn’t it?’ He [Niall Scannell] did really well, had a real strong first half, the lineout went well, the scrum was dominant again after the Scottish game. There’s plenty of competition with Ireland and Leinster.
“It is about getting over those initial couple of weeks where I was hugely disappointed about the timing of it with the Six Nations coming up.
“Having the carrot at the end of it, say the quarter-final of the Champions Cup, that’s the target, if I can get back, or even a week early.
“All you can do is have those mini targets for yourself and it drives you on when you are in on a Monday doing rehab.”
The injury layoff has allowed Cronin to focus on mobility work and he hopes to return a fitter and stronger player after working closely with the Leinster strength and conditioning staff.
And then there is the small matter of two new arrivals at home to keep him busy.
“I was kind of banking on getting into Carton House for three months, to be honest,” he laughed. “My wife wasn’t too cut up about the whole injury (situation), to be honest.
“It has been great. We were in there over Christmas. They’re home now and they’re pretty tough work. Ireland isn’t ready for them, I don’t think. Granny was up for a couple of weeks to help us out. She’s gone now.
“It’s a life changer. Your life goes out the window when they come in.”
Jordi Murphy and Sean Cronin launched the Vodafone #TeamOfUs Bus competition yesterday. Vodafone is giving 16 lucky people a #TeamOfUs experience with tickets for Ireland v England in Aviva Stadium and the opportunity to travel to the game in style on the #TeamOfUs Bus with Ireland players Jordi Murphy and Sean Cronin. See the Vodafone Ireland Facebook page for details.
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