Marmion primed if Ireland call
Connacht 14 Dragons 9
Pat Lam says that Kieran Marmion is in flying form and ready to go if he has to step in for Conor Murray against France on Saturday.
Murray sat out Irish training on Friday and, in turn, Marmion wasn't risked in Connacht's hard-earned win over Dragons on Saturday.
Lam said that Marmion, who has made all but one of his ten Irish appearances off the bench, is ready to face the French if needed.
Both of Marmion's Six Nations appearances to date have been off the bench against Italy but he's ready for action at the Aviva Stadium next Saturday if required.
"He trained all week but he got called into Irish camp on Thursday night," said Lam.
"We had a big training run on Thursday and then he drove maybe three hours to Monaghan on the Thursday night because Conor Murray wasn't able to train and then they had quite a big session in preparation for France. He drove back late Friday night."
Lam said that when they did their matchday tests on Saturday morning, Marmion's scores were "a bit low around some of his legs," so they decided not to risk him.
His replacement Caolin Blade made the most of the opportunity, sniping over for their second try after 14 minutes, with Craig Ronaldson's second conversion making it 14-0.
Earlier, Jack Carty and Matt Healy helped to send Tiernan O'Halloran away for the opening try after five minutes, with the Connacht full-back showing that he, too, is in fine fettle if the opportunity for his Six Nations debut arises.
That early burst should have seen Connacht push on and claim a bonus point but their play disintegrated and an error-strewn display left them hanging on in the end.
Dragons clawed their way back into it, an Angus O'Brien penalty after 18 minutes making it 14-3 at the break, and two more from the Dragons' replacement out-half in the third quarter ensured a nervous finish for Connacht.
Connacht - T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun, T Farrell, C Ronaldson (R Parata 77), M Healy; J Carty, C Blade (J Cooney 57); D Buckley (R Loughney 78), D Heffernan (T McCartney 57), F Bealham (JP Cooney 78); U Dillane (N Fox-Matamua 63), Q Roux (J Cannon 69); S O'Brien, J Heenan, J Muldoon.
Dragons - T Prydie; A Hughes, T Morgan, A Warren (S Beard 68), P Howard; D Jones (A O'Brien 15), T Knoyle (S Pretorius 77); S Hobbs (T Davies 60), E Dee, B Harris (L Fairbrother 60); N Crosswell, R Landman (C Hill 40); O Griffiths (H Keddie 77), N Cudd, L Evans.
Ref - N Owens (WRU)