Rugby

Sean Cronin Regains Fitness To Start Champions Cup Final

Sean Cronin Regains Fitness To Start Champions Cup Final

After limping from the field during Leinster's Champions Cup semi-final with Toulouse, Sean Cronin appears ready to take his spot in the front-row for this Saturday's final in Newcastle.

It was thought the calf injury, sustained at the Aviva Stadium against the French outfit, may rule him out of the European showpiece, but after giving him ample time, Leo Cullen and his coaching staff have decided the hooker is ready to play.

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Meanwhile, scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park has failed to recover in time from a hamstring injury, meaning James Lowe has been awarded a starting berth on the wing for Saturday's showdown with Saracens.

EPCR rules mean only two non-European players - not facilitated in the Cotonou Agreement - can play for a side in European competitions. Leinster's paucity of experience at scrum-half has meant Lowe has often had to contend with a seat in the stands for big European fixtures.

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That was the case in last year's Champions Cup final in Bilbao when Scott Fardy and Gibson-Park got the nod ahead of the winger.

Elsewhere, Saracens have also announced their team for the weekend's clash, with Michael Rhodes missing out through injury. Second-row forward Will Skelton comes on in his place, while Maro Itoje is expected to move into the back-row to take up the position Rhodes occupied during the English side's semi-final clash with Munster.

Saracens captain Brad Barritt also returns in time from injury, to take up his usual spot in the centre alongside Alex Lozowski.

The two sides have met on three occasions in the tournament with Leinster winning all three of their previous clashes. Their latest meeting came in last year's quarter-final when Cullen's side saw out their English opponents, 30-19.

 

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