Disappointment for one Munster loosehead, but opportunity knocks for another.
Dave Kilcoyne has been ruled out of the opening rounds of the 2018 Six Nations Championship, with his provincial teammate James Cronin called up in his place.
Kilcoyne injured his knee early in Munster’s bonus point 48-3 win against Castres in the Champions Cup yesterday, a result which secured a home quarter final against Toulon. Cronin came off the bench to form part of a dominant home scrum, and finished the game in style with a late try.
It’s been confirmed by Munster and Ireland that Kilcoyne’s injury is serious enough that he has had to withdraw from the squad Joe Schmidt had named last week, for the opening two fixtures of the championship. No timeline has been put on Kilcoyne's recovery, with Munster saying the injury is currently being assessed.
Kilcoyne had leapfrogged Jack McGrath as Ireland’s substitute loosehead during the 2017 November tests, but his absence will be eased with the arrival of Cronin.
27-year-old Cronin has only played three times for Ireland, a number which highlights just how stacked Ireland’s options are at loosehead. His last appearance in the green jersey came in the 2016 Six Nations, in Ireland’s defeat to France in Paris.
Paris is where Ireland begin their 2018 tournament, taking on the French on February 3rd.