Sean Cronin believes Ireland will need to draw on fit-again tighthead prop Mike Ross "big-time" against the powerful Springboks tomorrow.
Hooker Cronin has stepped into the breach after Rory Best failed to beat a calf problem, forming an all-Leinster front-row with Ross and loosehead Jack McGrath.
Ireland must take on Heyneke Meyer’s formidable Springboks without injured prop trio Cian Healy, Marty Moore and Nathan White, while Ross returns after missing a month through groin trouble.
Cronin boasts 35 caps but will make just his seventh Ireland start, keen to prove himself against a Springboks squad containing “two of the best hookers in the world”.
“Mike brings a valuable amount of experience and it’s a good factor that the three of us play together,” said Cronin.
“All of their starting front-row play for the same Super Rugby franchise as well. They’ve a huge amount of experience, so we’re going to need Mike big-time on Saturday. He has been able to do the scrummaging work.
“It was a bit of chop and change last week but ever since we came back in at the weekend everyone’s been working in their core groups, scrummaging and lineouts, so we’ve had plenty of time together.”
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