Fit-again Marmion returns for Cheetahs clash
Kieran Marmion will hope to put himself in the frame to return for Ireland in next weekend’s Six Nations clash against Italy as the scrum-half has been named on the bench for Connacht’s meeting with the Cheetahs this evening.
Marmion hasn’t featured since he injured his ankle during Ireland’s win over the All Blacks last November.
Connacht are also boosted by the return of Ultan Dillane, Caolin Blade, Jack Carty and Tom Farrell as all four players are included in the starting XV having been involved with the Ireland squad over recent weeks.
Just two points separate the teams as Westerners look to repeat the victory they enjoyed over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein before Christmas.
“Since we played them earlier in the season they have been improving steadily and have the results to show for it”, head coach Andy Friend said.
“They are real contenders in the conference now, so we know the importance of this game in the context of the overall season”.
“They are a really hard team to play against and even trying to review them can be difficult. They seem to play so off the cuff that it can be difficult to predict what they are going to do next.
“We know the threat they pose in attack so we will face a huge challenge”.
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Connacht will be aiming to climb the table during the Six Nations period as they won’t be disrupted as much as other teams.
From that end, starting with a win at home this evening is crucial.
Connacht – D Leader; C Kelleher, T Farrell, T Daly, S Fitzgerald; J Carty, C Blade; D Buckley, T McCartney, F Bealham; U Dillane, J Cannon; E McKeon, C Fainga’a, J Butler (capt). Reps: D Heffernan, P McCabe, D Robertson-McCoy, C Gallagher, P Boyle, K Marmion, C Fitzgerald, K Godwin.
Cheetahs – L Fouche; W Small-Smith, D Swanepoel, N Lee, R Maxwane; T Schoeman, S Venter (capt); C Marais, M van der Merwe, A Coetzee; J Wiese, JP du Preez; A Nonkontwana, J Pokomela, G Oliver. Reps: R Venter, O Nche, L de Bruin, S Manjezi, W Steenkamp, H Venter, T Meyer, R Paige.
REF – N Owens (Wales)
Connacht v Cheetahs,
Live, TG4 / eir Sport, 5.30