Tuesday 21 January 2020

No rush to cap Marmion despite Welsh interest, says Lam

Kieran Marmion, Connacht
Kieran Marmion, Connacht

Declan Rooney

Connacht coach Pat Lam believes there is no rush in nailing down Kieran Marmion as an Irish international despite suggestions that Wales are monitoring his progress.

After Warren Gatland's frank admission that last year he had asked Robbie Henshaw if he had any Welsh qualifications, speculation has mounted that Wales-born Marmion was on the New Zealander's radar.

The Ireland U-20 international has been in outstanding form for Connacht this season but was left out of Joe Schmidt's initial Ireland squad for the Autumn Internationals.

Marmion (right) was an unused member for the Irish squad for their summer tour to North America, but Lam says the scrum-half's time will come for Ireland.

"I don't think Kieran will be lured by Wales. All I know is that he is going to be a better player. And on the back of that the rewards will come," he said.

"Kieran is certainly right there in the Irish frame and I think he knows that. They are in constant communication with him, so there is no rush. He'll get there," said Lam, who played internationally for both New Zealand – where he was born – and Samoa.

Marmion, who has scored three tries in his last five Connacht games, is regarded as one of the most promising scrum-halves to emerge in recent years, but Lam thinks he still has plenty of scope to better himself.

"I believe his time will come. There is no doubt about it, when you look at his work ethic and what he is doing with his game and more importantly his performances," Lam said.

"He showed last season what he is made of and he is a quality player.

"But he still has huge areas of his game to improve and he knows that. Joe Schmidt has spoken to him and he has clear things that he is working on.

"I watch him every day and he is working on those things that we have asked him to and what the Irish coaches have asked him to.

"So because of that attitude, it will come. I believe that things don't happen by accident, it happens because of the work that you do. And he is doing the work."

Irish Independent

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