Six Nations 2019: Ireland drop Cronin for France game as Herring returns to squad

Sean Cronin with John Ryan after Ireland's unimpressive win over Italy
Sean Cronin appears to have paid the price for Ireland's line-out troubles in Rome

Hooker Sean Cronin has been omitted from Ireland's 37-man squad for Sunday's Six Nations game against France in Dublin.

Cronin has paid the price for Ireland's line-out troubles in the unimpressive win over Italy as Ulster's Rob Herring replaces him in the extended squad.

As expected, Robbie Henshaw is left out after not recovering from a dead leg.

Joey Carbery will not feature on Sunday despite being named in the squad while Kieron Marmion returns after injury.

Carbery is among four fly-halves included in the training panel but Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby said on Wednesday afternoon that the Munster player will not be in the match day squad announced on Friday as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.

That means recalled Ross Byrne or Jack Carty will be Johnny Sexton's understudy against the French.

Rory Best during Ireland training on Wednesday
Ireland captain Rory Best looks certain to start at hooker against France

Scrum-half Marmion replaces his Connacht team-mate Caolan Blade while captain Rory Best, Cian Healy, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, CJ Stander and Garry Ringrose are all included in the squad after missing the win in Rome.

With Best rested in Rome, Cronin, 32, made his first ever Six Nations start in the Eternal City as he earned his 68th cap in an international career where he has predominantly been used as an impact replacement.

South African-born Herring has earned seven caps with his last appearance coming against the USA in November.

The Ulster player started in last summer's First Test against Australia when Ireland lost and came on as a replacement for Niall Scannell in the later games in Melbourne and Sydney as the Irish fought back to to clinch the series.

Munster's Scannell remains in the squad after coming on as a second-half replacement for Cronin in Rome.

Forwards coach Easterby said that Cronin's omission was more about "building some depth in positions" than a reaction to his Rome performance.

"He has been in camp a long time, he has been in the squad a long time and has a lot of caps. It's an opportunity to see a bit more of other players," said Easterby.

"That doesn't exclude him from next week and it certainly doesn't exclude him from us going forward."

Ireland squad

Forwards: Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Ultan Dillane, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Dave Kilcoyne, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Sean O'Brien, Peter O'Mahony, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, Rhys Ruddock, James Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier

Backs: Bundee Aki, Ross Byrne, Joey Carbery, Jack Carty, Andrew Conway, John Cooney, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Tom Farrell, Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Kieran Marmion, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Jonathan Sexton, Jacob Stockdale

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