James Cronin to leave Munster as Van Graan rues 'current environment'

Head coach Johann van Graan said “the current environment we find ourselves in” left Munster “unable to retain the services of a player of his quality”.
James Cronin to leave Munster as Van Graan rues 'current environment'

James Cronin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

James Cronin will leave Munster at the end of the season.

Head coach Johann van Graan said “the current environment we find ourselves in” left Munster “unable to retain the services of a player of his quality”.

Cronin, 30, has become a regular feature in the Munster front-row, starting 13 times and appearing in three more games as a sub. He scored tries against Connacht in both games in March and May this year.

In total, the Corkman has scored 20 tries in 142 appearances since his debut in 2013, the same year he was voted Academy Player of the Year. He was capped three times by Ireland between 2014 and 2016.

Cronin served a one-month ban in April 2020 due to an unintentional doping violation after a pharmacy mix-up.

Munster’s James Cronin scored a try against Connacht last Friday. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Munster’s James Cronin scored a try against Connacht last Friday. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

“It’s with great regret that I announce my time with Munster Rugby will end this summer,” said Cronin in a statement.

“It’s been a dream of mine to represent my province since I threw on my first jersey as a six-year-old kid and I take great pride in knowing I’ve represented my province 142 times and my country on three occasions.

“I have made many life-long friends in my time playing here and have learnt so much from some great men, most notably the late Garrett Fitzgerald and Anthony Foley, and I thank everyone that I’ve worked with from my days in the sub-academy to the current day.

“I want to say a special thanks to my family and friends who have always been with me for the highs, but also the lows, that come with professional rugby. To all the Munster fans also a big thank you.

“I’m excited for my next rugby chapter and giving everything like I have done in my career so far.”

Van Graan said he regretted losing a homegrown talent like Cronin.  

“We are very thankful to James for everything he has done for Munster over his nine-year career with the province,” he said.

“It’s always difficult to lose homegrown talent of James’ calibre, someone who has always delivered for his home club.

“This is the unfortunate side of professional sport and the current environment we find ourselves in as we are unable to retain the services of a player of his quality.

“We wish James all the best for the future.”

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