Friday 15 November 2019

Marmion aims for Six Nations debut to cap his rapid rise

Marmion looks set for a battle with Eoin Reddan to become back-up to first-choice scrum-half Conor Murray ahead of the Six Nations and World Cup.
Marmion looks set for a battle with Eoin Reddan to become back-up to first-choice scrum-half Conor Murray ahead of the Six Nations and World Cup.

Declan Rooney

Kieran Marmion's career has been on a steep upward curve since Eric Elwood gave him his breakthrough two years ago last September and now the 22-year old is on the cusp of his Six Nations debut.

Marmion looks set for a battle with Eoin Reddan to become back-up to first-choice scrum-half Conor Murray ahead of the Six Nations and World Cup, but already he is fighting off the competition at the Sportsground.

Marmion made 59 consecutive appearances for Connacht after making his breakthrough in September 2012, but with Leinster loanee John Cooney, new arrival Ian Porter and local youngster Caolin Blade - who scored two tries away to Bayonne - all battling for his shirt, Marmion is keen to concentrate on his Connacht form.

"Obviously (getting into the Irish match-day 23) is a target, yeah. But all I can do is perform as well as I can do for Connacht and hopefully that will look after itself," said the Connacht academy graduate.

PUSH

"I probably have the most games played. But that doesn't matter, it's about whoever is performing best at the time. That's the guy that's going to get the game.

"We all train together, so we are all pushing each other to try and get better."

Marmion's form has been outstanding since he broke into the team on the opening day of the 2012-13 season. Last season he was the team's top try scorer with seven in 28 appearances, and this term he again leads the way with four tries in 12 games.

He showed his worth on the big occasion last week against Munster with another excellent performance in some of the toughest conditions he has played in.

He scored the first try and his sniping run off the back of a second-half scrum set up Aly Muldowney's third Connacht try, but it was a challenging evening.

"The conditions very, very hard. The wind and rain was among the toughest I've played in," he said.

"But we adapted our game better to that - probably better than Munster did - and I think that showed.

"Before the three weeks (of Christmas) we said that we wanted to re-raise our intensity and really try and improve on what we have already done this season.

"We only got one win, but as a team we have really come on a lot over the last three weeks as everyone bought into it."

Irish Independent

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