Munster add scrum-half Neil Cronin to Heineken Champions Cup squad

Alby Mathewson and Conor Murray remain in Munster’s 41-man group.

MUNSTER HAVE REGISTERED scrum-half Neil Cronin to their Heineken Champions Cup squad ahead of Saturday’s visit to Exeter Chiefs. 

While the province’s latest injury update listed Garryowen man Cronin as still being in rehabilitation with a shoulder issue, he has been brought into Munster’s 41-man European squad, with out-half Bill Johnston deregistered.

Neil Cronin Cronin is on the comeback trail from a shoulder injury. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Conor Murray, who is also listed as still being injured, remains in their extended squad for the Champions Cup, as does Alby Mathewson.

Kiwi scrum-half Mathewson was due to undergo a scan on a knee injury yesterday, having suffered the issue during last weekend’s defeat to Leinster.

Munster now have five scrum-halves registered in their European squad, with the fit Duncan Williams and Jack Stafford, still part of the province’s academy, also included.

Munster’s decision to register Cronin does little to clarify who head coach Johann van Graan will have available to him for this weekend’s trip to Exeter, although the expectation is that Williams will start and Stafford will provide back-up on the bench.

Heineken Champions Cup regulations mean that each club can select three ‘Additional Players’ over the course of the pool stages, although one of those players must be a front row.

Deregistered players may return to the club’s squad later during the pool stages and replace the ‘Additional Player’ he was originally replaced by.

‘Additional Players’ are eligible to play in the next round of pool games if their nomination is received by tournament organisers EPCR by noon on the Tuesday before the match, as is the case with Cronin.

The only other stipulation is that the player must have at least a three-month contract with the club.

Cronin’s registration counts as one of Munster’s three available ‘Additional Player’ changes during the pool stages.

They can make a further two changes during the course of the pool stages, but one of those has to be the inclusion of a front row player. 

Meanwhile, Connacht have added out-half/centre David Horwitz to their Challenge Cup squad ahead of Saturday’s clash with Bordeaux in Galway, with the injured Craig Ronaldson deregistered. 

Horwitz has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since his arrival from the Rebels in Australia but is understood to be nearing a return to action.

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Murray Kinsella

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