Easterby refusing to rule out Cronin
Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby claims Sean Cronin has not lost his World Cup place after being dropped this week.
The hooker made his full Six Nations debut during his 68th cap as he helped his side beat Italy 26-16 in Rome.
However, he has now been dropped for this Sunday's Six Nations clash with France in Dublin.
The 32-year-old was not named in Joe Schmidt's 37-man squad and some fans have now doubted his chances ahead of the World Cup.
However, Easterby insists he is still expected to compete alongside Rob Herring and Rory Best.
"I guess we're looking continually to build some depth in positions," said Easterby. "Sean has been involved in the first three games, he has started in Italy, and in a specialist position like hooker; it's probably only nine and maybe 10 where you don't get guys playing other positions.
"We're just looking to find out a bit more about players that we need to work with towards what's coming up in the next couple of weeks and the end of the year.
"Sean 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. That doesn't exclude him from next week and it certainly doesn't exclude him from us going forward."
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