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The Leinster front row returned to training a day early to address their scrum capitulation

The players met after getting back to Dublin on Sunday.

Cronin admits the front row take responsibility.
Cronin admits the front row take responsibility.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

LEINSTER’S FRONT ROW returned to training a day early this week in an attempt to address the issues which saw their scrum capitulate in the face of Bath’s aggression at the weekend.

Bath’s dominance of the set-piece provided the platform for their Champions Cup victory at the Rec with 16 of their points, including a penalty try, stemming from the scrum.

Scrum coach John Fogarty yesterday admitted the eastern province were bullied and it simply wasn’t good enough but said every effort has been made to rectify the problem.

He revealed the players were upset and even angry at the manner of their implosion as Bath dictated proceedings from the off.

And Sean Cronin says the front row convened in Leinster HQ after arriving back in Dublin on Sunday to figure out what led to their downfall.

“We’ve had easier Sundays even,” he said. “A few of us came in on Sunday. The front row met to address some of the issues which went on at the weekend so it’s a tough week, a tough couple of weeks.

“The guys who were involved on Saturday came in to address what went on in terms of our front row and our application and what we need to do this week. To get a head start and make the improvement there.

“I was part and parcel of it. Things didn’t go well and the most disappointing area was we didn’t give the rest of our team-mates the platform to play off and 16 points we gave away at the scrum and that just isn’t good enough.

“People can harp on about internationals across the board, yeah we do have that, and we’re the first people to stick our hands up and say it wasn’t good enough.”

Sean Cronin Cronin speaking at today's charity launch at the RDS. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

George Ford’s late penalty inflicted a second straight reversal on the three-time European champions, leaving Leo Cullen’s side facing the reality of an early elimination.

Leinster have left themselves with an uphill struggle to advance from Pool 5 but Cronin insists there is enough confidence in the squad to turn their fortunes around.

“We need to get our stuff together and that’s why we came in early on Sunday to address it,” he continued. “Going into this week, against an another quality scrum.

“There is a level of confidence there as we know the quality in the squad so fully focused on a massive derby game on Friday and the big games are coming thick and fast so we don’t have too much time to feel sorry for ourselves.

“It was a bad start and going forward from there we struggled, and we lacked a bit of confidence from that but we haven’t turned into a bad scrum overnight. Problem solving on the pitch is another area we need to improve on. Keep on the side of the ref.”

Focus has already turned to Friday’s Pro12 clash against Ulster at the RDS and Cronin is fully aware the visitors will arrive smelling blood.

“They’re going to look to target us, we’re licking our wounds a small bit,” the Ireland international continued. “I’ve no doubt they’re going to come at us in that area.

“We met earlier in the week, sat down, gone through it and we’ve come up with something that hopefully will work on Friday night against a top quality scrum with Rory [Best] leading them.

“We have the confidence because we know we have the quality, we just have to refocus the minds now, we ‘ve had a tough block of European games and we just need to focus on the Pro12 and lads are bursting out of their skin to get back and try and play well again on Friday and these derby days bring out the best sometimes.”

“It’s going to be a big challenge, that’s what we’re in the business for.”

Sean Cronin was speaking at the launch of ‘Rugby Memories’, a new initiative with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, who are one of two charity partners to Leinster Rugby this season.

World Cup hangover no excuse for Leinster’s European slump, says Luke Fitzgerald

Ruddock: Leinster are down but they’re certainly not out, as Toulon’s defeat showed

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Ryan Bailey

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