Thursday 29 September 2016

Marmion set to storm Siberia

John Fallon

Published 25/09/2015 | 02:30

Andrew Browne, Kieran Marmion and Eoghan Masterson at the launch of the new BLK Connacht Rugby 2015/16 European kit. The new jersey will go on sale exclusively instore in Life Style Sports and online at www.lifestylesports.
Andrew Browne, Kieran Marmion and Eoghan Masterson at the launch of the new BLK Connacht Rugby 2015/16 European kit. The new jersey will go on sale exclusively instore in Life Style Sports and online at www.lifestylesports.

Scrum-half Kieran Marmion said that Connacht's November trip to Siberia is going to be a big test on and off the field but he is confident they will rise to the challenge.

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Pat Lam's men will make history when they travel to Russian to take on Enisei-STM in the Challenge Cup.

And with the fixtures for Pool 1 finally sorted out, Connacht know that their tough test will be first up when the competition kicks off in mid-November.

Connacht's historic game will take at Central Stadium in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. The game will have a 3pm local kick-off time - but the fact that will be 9am in Ireland gives some indication of the arduous nature of the task playing in a city over five hours east of Moscow.

"Obviously it'll be a bit different. We have been looking through the arrangements of the trip and how to get there, it's pretty far away," said Marmion.

But the uniqueness of the trip has caught the attention of the squad and it will certainly make a big difference than the trips to the usual Pro12 venues.

Indeed, Connacht have played their other Pool 1 opponents Newcastle Falcons and Brive in the past, so the trip to Russia will be different.

"It'll be great to go there, I doubt I'll get another chance to go to Siberia, so it'll be good to go there and play a rugby game.

"I've heard it will be pretty cold, but it'll be something different and a different environment to play in. We are just looking forward to it really.

"There is no getting round it, it's going to be tough. Our Eagles team play them every over here so we know they are a good side.

"So with 14 hours of travel behind us a lot of the players won't be used to that and it will pose a few new challenges to us," added Marmion.

Connacht will be at home the weekend after the Russian trip and will entertain Brive at the Sportsground on Saturday, November 21 (5.0).

Then in December there will be the back-to-back games with Newcastle, the first taking place at the Sportsground on Friday, December 11 (7.45), with the return match the following Sunday week, December 20 (3.00).

The pool campaign will conclude in January away to Brive and at home to Enisei-STM.

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