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Leicester Tigers snap up former Munster prop Cronin and ex-Leinster ace Gopperth

The loosehead prop moves to Leicester from French club Biarritz Olympique.

Cronin after his last Munster appearance.
Cronin after his last Munster appearance.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

LEICESTER TIGERS HAVE signed James Cronin from French club Biarritz Olympique.

Having played his junior rugby with Ballincollig RFC and Highfield RFC, Cronin was named Academy Player of the Year and, in his second year with Munster, represented Munster ‘A’ and made his senior debut for the Irish province.

After just one season of senior rugby, Cronin was selected as part of the Irish senior squad to tour Argentina and made his Test debut in the win over Los Pumas in June 2014.

Cronin made more than 140 appearances for Munster in Pro12, Pro14 and European Champions Cup competitions before moving to France to join Biarritz this time last year.

Speaking about the addition of Cronin, Leicester Tigers Head Coach Steve Borthwick said: “James is a physical, determined player who has shown his ability in some of the toughest rugby environments in the game.

“He has experience at domestic and international level, which will add to the leadership within our group as well as being of great benefit to the development of the younger players in our front-row ranks.”

Cronin added: “You can see that Leicester Tigers is a club on the up, led by a world-class coach in Steve Borthwick, and I want to push myself in an environment like that which he has created.

“To be a part of what is being built at the club is a massive driver for me.

“I see myself as a hard-working, confrontational player and, in the chats I have had with Steve, he wants to see those traits from me.

“I hope that with my performances I can earn the respect of the Leicester Tigers fans.”

Leicester have also signed former Leinster versatile back Jimmy Gopperth ahead of the 2022/23 season.

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jimmy-gopperth-tackled-by-davide-giazzon Gopperth in action for Leinster in 2015. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Gopperth sits in fourth place on the Premiership’s all-time points-scorer list and has made almost 200 appearances in the English top flight.

Born in New Zealand, Gopperth was selected to represent Wellington’s provincial team in 2003 after impressing for Old Boys University, before signing with Super Rugby side the Hurricanes in 2005.

He represented New Zealand Under-21 and the Junior All Blacks before moving to Auckland in 2008 and represented North Harbour and The Blues in Super Rugby before moving to the northern hemisphere in 2009 to join Newcastle Falcons.

After more than 100 appearances for Newcastle, he joined Leinster for two seasons and returned to the Premiership with Wasps in 2015.

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