Cronin targets World Cup after dream start

James Cronin admitted it was a dream come true to make his Irish debut against the Pumas on Saturday.

Cronin targets World Cup after dream start

The 23-year old had never played for Ireland at any level but the Cork man was one of six to make his international bow on this tour to Argentina. The prop, who came through from junior rugby with Ballincollig RFC to Highfield and then to Dolphin before his performances in the All-Ireland League saw him drafted into the Munster academy, came on in the final quarter against the Pumas.

“To get two wins is massive for the squad, for me to get my first cap is a dream come true.

“There is good character in the squad and we showed resilience, we went in down a point at half-time and came out and scored the next two scores.

“I think this is the start towards the World Cup. There are a few lads missing, a few lads out with injuries so this was an opportunity,” he said.

One man to make the most of his opportunity was Rhys Ruddock, who made his first start since his debut four years ago but who only picked up his second cap off the bench against Italy in the Six Nations.

“I’m happy with my performance, but there are still a couple of little errors I’d like to tidy up. But all in all I’m happy with how I played.”

Ian Madigan brought the curtain down on a frustrating season by scoring the clinching try seven minutes from time for his first senior international touchdown.

“I think when things aren’t going well for you, you revert to type. I had a good chat with Isa Nacewa about six weeks ago and he just kind of re-assured me of what I was good at.

“I’ve just tried to go back to that, and one of my strengths is showing and going with the ball, and beating people one-on-one, and it’s worked well for me over the last few weeks,” said Madigan, who admitted he preferred to play out-half if given the choice.

“The taste of the line tastes good no matter what position you’re playing. Yea, 10 is my preferred position but I’d play anywhere from nine to 15 than sit on the bench.”

It was expected he would take over the No 10 shirt when Jonathan Sexton departed for Paris but the arrival of Jimmy Gopperth saw him spend a lot of the season on the bench.

“It certainly hasn’t gone to plan. At the start of the season I would have intended to be first-choice with Leinster and pushing for a starting spot in the Ireland team. I ended up being second choice in Leinster and second/third choice with Ireland.

“It’s not back to the drawing board, but I think it’s about continuing on next season from the strong finish I’ve had to this year. I think you’ve got to start the season quickly. If you start the season well with your club that has a great knock-on effect going into the autumn [Tests].”

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