Last season was a frustrating time for James Cronin.

The 29-year-old Munster prop, who earned three Ireland caps between 2014 and 2016, missed almost the entire campaign due to a knee operation and a succession of hamstring injuries.

He's back and fighting fit however, and has featured in six of the province's seven Pro14 fixtures, and all three of their Champions Cup fixtures.

"I had a long period out, nearly 10 months away from the game," Cronin told RTÉ Sport.

"It gives you perspective on what's really important to you, and playing for Munster is really important for me.

"Playing week-in, week-out, the unglamorous games for Munster now seem a bit more glamorous and I'm just really enjoying my rugby at the moment."

It's as glamorous as it gets on Saturday with the second leg of the back to back series with European champions Saracens.

Munster beat an English side stripped of some star names in an arm-wrestle at Thomond Park last weekend, but Cronin is quick to point out that the Aviva Premiership champions, who are now fighting relegation due to a 35-point deduction for salary cap breaches, still had plenty of talent on show.

"Going out and having a real ding-dong against a top English side and coming out the right side of it was brilliant," he said.

"We know there are things to work on and we can be better but they still came with 10 of the 23 that played us in the semi-final last year so they were no bad team.

"We're looking forward to the challenge again this week."

At the halfway stage, Munster are just one point behind Racing 92, who they drew with in Limerick, in what is a finely poised pool.

Cronin admits they are relatively happy with their performances to date.

"We probably dropped two at home against Racing but we'll take it, though we'd prefer to be top.

"It's only half time against Saracens and we're going over there to get four points."

Follow all the weekend's Champions Cup action with RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News Now app and listen to live coverage of Leinster v Northampton on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.