Rugby Cian Tracey: ‘Lack of a standout hooker leaves Farrell facing dilemma ahead of the Six Nations’

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Rory Best’s recent admission that he found it “tough” playing two games in six days at the World Cup was even more damning as neither Sean Cronin nor Niall Scannell put the pressure on Joe Schmidt to make a big decision.

Rob Herring joined the party later on in the tournament when Cronin picked up a neck injury, but the Ulster man wasn’t in Japan long enough to make any meaningful impact.

Andy Farrell will name his first Ireland squad today ahead of the Six Nations and if we are to go on his mini camp before Christmas, Scannell, Herring and Rónan Kelleher will be the three hookers included.

Cronin was left out of the extended squad, which doesn’t bode well for his chances of adding to his 72 caps, even if he is fit again.

The 33-year-old has had to bide his time for so long behind Best and just when it looked like it might finally be his time to claim Ireland’s No 2 jersey, he has been unable to win back his place in Leinster’s starting team.

Kelleher is very much the coming man in Leinster and while it won’t be long before he becomes Ireland

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