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Munster Scrum Thread

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    Munster Scrum Thread

    29 September 2016 11:02

    James Cronin on the attack against Cardiff in round 2 of the Guinness PRO12.

    Featuring heavily in every game of the Guinness PRO12 campaign to date, front row James Cronin discusses the Munster's scrum this season and the improvements made that have made it a key weapon of late.

    Perhaps no more so than last weekend, where the scrum was directly responsible Munster's two opening half tries against Edinburgh, has Munster's dominance in the scrum this season been more evident. Understandably, Cronin and his fellow forwards are delighted with the strides made thus far, especially given the problems they encountered last year.

    "It's something that we worked on as a unit over the summer and we're getting the fruits of our labour now. We have scrummed well since preseason and hopefully that will continue.

    "We let ourselves down in the scrum last season. Our props were not young, but youngish, and losing the experience of the likes of BJ Botha and Damien Varley was huge. We were in limbo a little but we learnt a lot from last season and we have now stood up, taken the bull by the horns and driven our own standards."

    Overseeing the scrum once again this season is Jerry Flannery and with the squad now solely based in the High Performance Centre at UL, the former Munster and Ireland hooker is now afforded even more time to work with each member of the pack, both individually and collectively.

    "Fla has done a great job in getting us in better technical shape with a lot of scrum conditioning over the summer and having everyone together now in the High Performance Centre will make things even better. We have one of Ireland's leading gyms and will only improve because of that.

    "It's the subtle things about being together in Limerick that can drive you on. Like for example, if you are training in the gym alongside someone in your position and they are squatting or benching heavier than you, you work to get closer to them and hopefully then come Saturday that hard work pays off and you show it out on the pitch."

    With a large, imposing and in-form Zebre outfit coming to Thomond Park this weekend, Cronin is hoping for more of the same at scrum time.

    "We know from the last couple of years that Zebre are a big physical side and when it comes to the scrum and the maul they have very few small fellas playing for them. Two weeks ago they had Connacht on the racks only for a thunderstorm and last week they lost to Cardiff by just two points so that tells you just how dangerous they can be.

    They are playing Champions Cup this year and are a side on the up so we'll have to be ready for them on Saturday."

    Munster v Zebre, Guinness PRO12 round 5, Saturday October 1st at Thomond Park, KO 5pm.

    Please note this game will not be televised.

    Cronin's Front Row View

    I am the million man.

    Tougher tests ahead and we need to be able to move in Casey and Archer at the same standard (as we can't keep Scannell and Ryan on for 70-plus minutes every match) but it is very encouraging. They seem to have turned a corner mentally/technique-wise. I believe we can sort out the line-out so having a reliable scrum would be a major step forward on last season.