Tuesday 6 December 2016

Kieran Marmion targets Six Nations debut

Darragh Small

Published 31/12/2015 | 10:04

Kieran Marmion has been knocking on the door of the international team for some time
Kieran Marmion has been knocking on the door of the international team for some time

Kiernan Marmion's New Year resolution is to play in his Six Nations — and the Connacht scrum-half knows that a big showing against Leinster tomorrow could go a long way to achieving that.

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He won the fourth of his Irish caps in the World Cup warm-up against Wales in the Millennium Stadium but failed to make the cut.

But the 23-year old has put his World Cup disappointment behind him and is eyeing up tomorrow’s inter-pro clash with Leinster as the perfect opportunity to lay down a marker ahead of the Six Nations.

The 23-year-old, who missed out on inclusion in the World Cup squad, is hoping to deliver a big performance as Connacht look for their first ever win at the Dublin venue.

And as Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad convene for their first training camp since the World Cup on Sunday with less than six weeks to their Six Nations opener at home to Wales, Marmion knows this is a big opportunity.

Marmion  missed the cut when Schmidt took just two scrum-halves to the World Cup.

“I will be trying to aim for the Six Nations this year. But all I can do is just perform as best I can on the pitch for Connacht and hopefully I might make the squad.

“I am very happy with my game at the moment. I had a few weeks off and was happy with the way it went for myself the other day.

“Obviously it was a disappointing result against Ulster. It was tough after the three weeks out but it was good to get 80 minutes under my belt,” he said.

Marmion, who has chalked up 89 appearances since his Connacht debut in the 2012-13 season, said there is something special about the Irish derby games.

“I really look forward to these games. It’s great to match up against the other Irish scrum-halves so I am looking forward to that, and hopefully I can take my chance.

“These matches are a bit more heated. People know that they are playing against guys who they are going to be in competition with for Irish places. So these games have more intensity than some of the other Pro12 games.”

Marmion, who has dashed over for 15 tries so far for Connacht, recently extended his contract at the Sportsground by another two years, and he believes they know they have what it takes to end Leinster’s five-match winning run in the competition.

“Last year we beat Leinster at home and then lost away. We are a better team now and we are capable of going there and getting the victory.

“We watched their game against Munster and we have done analysis on them. They have their own style of play and have had a solid defence all year. We looked at that, and are trying to work out ways that we can break that down and score tries.

“We just need to be more clinical against Leinster. Like what we did against Ulster, but make sure that we are accurate with all of the stuff like passing and kicking. We need to take the opportunities when they come,” added Marmion.

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