"It felt like a bazooka into the back of the leg": Sean Cronin on the hamstring injury ruling him out of the Six Nations

The Leinster hooker picked up the injury a fortnight ago against Zebre

Sean Cronin, Leinster

Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson 

New emerged this week that Sean Cronin will miss all of Ireland's upcoming Six Nations campaign after sustaining a hamstring injury against Zebre.

The Leinster hooker was replaced during Leinster's victory over the perennial Italian strugglers a fortnight ago and Stuart Lancaster this week revealed the extent of the damage.

Cronin will spend 10 weeks on the sideline, which may also see him miss out on Leinster's Champions Cup quarter-final in April.

Speaking on Tuesday's Off The Ball, Cronin described the moment he knew he had suffered the injury.

"I was a bit disappointed last week, moping around the place," he said. "I just tried to tell myself to focus and get the rehab right and fix up any other little niggles that I had. Maybe come back a better and stronger player in the time frame. 

"Whatever way I went to bend down after the ball squirted out of the maul, I tried to accelerate off my right foot and it gave way. It felt like a bazooka into the back of the leg. That was me done.

"Throughout my career I've been pretty lucky to be able to steer clear of the soft tissues injuries, I looked after myself well to avoid those kind of injuries."

Sean Cronin clutches the back of his leg after suffering a hamstring injury against Zebre in the Guinness PRO12. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan 

Injuries like these have become common in rugby, with the strain put on the hamstrings when bending down to pluck the ball and the tackles that can follow immediately after or in other cases when players push off their bent leg too quickly. Evidence of this was seen at the 2015 Rugby World Cup when Paul O'Connell suffered a severe hamstring injury which ended his career.

"I think Paul was poaching a ball over a ruck and just got caught in a bad position, with Richardt Strauss something similar happened as well.  

"I'm just lucky I dodged a bullet and didn't damage a tendon and it's just a rupture in the middle of the muscle. It's pretty straightforward I just have to get the rehab right and not mess around trying to come back too early. There's a high percentage of doing it again, so I have to be careful." 

Cronin also shared his thoughts on this year's squad and the change in fortune they have experienced compared to last year's dismal run in Europe and their defeat in the PRO12 final to Connacht.

"It was disappointing not performing in the PRO12 final last year and Europe was a bit of a disaster. There's been a turnaround this year, we've been going very well in the league and Europe has seen a huge turnaround. 

"I think there's been a nice gelling of the squad and we set out a few building blocks at the start of the year that we want to try and achieve. It's been helped by young players coming into the squad who have their heads firmly on their shoulders. They've added a lot to the squad."