Saturday 24 February 2018

Marmion: we want to follow Leinster Lead

Connacht's Kieran Marmion Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Connacht's Kieran Marmion Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Ireland scrum-half Kieran Marmion says Connacht plan to follow Leinster's blueprint and smother Zebre from the start as they go in search for vital Champions Cup points.

Connacht host the lowly Italians on Saturday afternoon, and fresh from the 70-6 hammering doled out by Leo Cullen's side, Zebre will be aiming for a more favourable time out in the west.

But, according to Marmion, Connacht intend on denying the Italians any chances from the off and the hope is they will lose interest if the home side can build up a significant lead.

"They definitively always front up against us. They probably come over here and see it as a bit of an opportunity for them," said Marmion. "When they played Leinster on the weekend they went a few scores behind and probably rolled over and died a bit in that game.

"As long as they are in with a chance of winning they always fight to the end, so it is crucial in this game that we score and then score again and then put them out of reach."

With three wins to their name in Pool 2, a bonus-point win in this encounter could well be enough to seal a first quarter-final slot for Pat Lam's side. However, in such a tight pool with three sides all tied on 13 points the likelihood is that they will need at least a point from their final pool game away to Toulouse to be sure of last-eight qualification.

Connacht's home win over Wasps in their pool was their sole victory in their last five games, but Marmion is still full of confidence after a positive November with Ireland. He remains hopeful that Connacht can stall their losing streak.

"Yeah I'm happy with the way things are going for me. The last three weeks' results haven't quite gone our way but I think in training we can take a lot of confidence from what we are doing. We just want to get back this week and get a good result.

"In the pool we are in a good position so far. If we can get a win this weekend, get some more points in the group we can go over to Toulouse being in a really good place. Hopefully we can be in a position to qualify going into that game."

Irish Independent

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