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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 13 December, 2019

Breakdown entry points a key work-on before grand pool finale against France -- Cronin

The hooker wants his team-mates to get down and dirty in the ruck.

- Rory Keane reports from London

WATCHING ON FROM the bench at the Olympic Stadium, Sean Cronin was well placed to offer an insight into Ireland’s lethargic display against the Azzurri.

Sean Cronin makes a tackle Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

With the score finely poised at 16-9, Cronin replaced Rory Best in the 70th minute with Ireland eventually closing out a nervy and hard-fought victory.

“A lot of the lads did a lot of carries,” said Cronin. “It was a tough slog in the scrum and they mauled us a lot as well. There’s some tired bodies in there but we’ll recover as best we can and move onto next week, another big game.”

Despite their disappointing display in east London, Ireland will head into Sunday’s seismic clash with France much the better following their battle with Italy.

Jacques Brunel’s side certainly tested Ireland in several key areas including the  breakdown and Cronin is certain that Ireland will do quite a lot of work on the post-tackle before taking on France.

“We’ll probably have to target the breakdown and our body heights and our angles coming in there, we coughed up a bit of ball. If we can hold onto the ball a bit longer, we can put teams under pressure.”

Sean Cronin and Rory Best Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The hooker added: “I don’t think we were complacent.”

“We were no illusions that it was going to be an incredibly tough Test match especially with their talismanic captain back. We knew they would all step up. It’s a bit like Paulie when he plays for us; he brings the best out of us. Sergio Parisse brings the best out of his players. They hit us hard in the tackle area, dominated us there a small bit, the breakdown, they probably shaded it there as well.

“They’re key areas of a game. If you can’t get them right, you’re going to struggle and we did struggle at times, but, at times, we did some nice stuff as well so it’s good that we have stuff to work on and I’m sure Joe will have plenty of clips for us to look at.”

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