Saturday 24 March 2018

Marmion: I'm ready to make step up in Ireland shirt

Kieran Marmion is eager for his chance with Ireland. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Kieran Marmion is eager for his chance with Ireland. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
David Kelly

David Kelly

Ireland will not look beyond each moment but their supporters will remain unforgiven for casting every action this spring in the context of a World Cup.

Italy and France conclude the World Cup pool stages in September; they begin the Six Nations championship in February.

Joe Schmidt's designs on a new, more aesthetically friendly style of rugby may be delayed by the absence of the best half-back partnership in world rugby; even the second-choice scrum-half may not be unavailable.

Isaac Boss, the third-choice, is a hesitant pick at Leinster and remains the past, not the future; the present may dictate reality, particularly if Ian Madigan requires experienced counsel inside him.

Kieran Marmion, brimming with confidence in a province overflowing with oceans of the same, would appear to be a live option, regardless of concerns here in Carton House about his kicking.

His audition on Friday for the reserves against their English counterparts will hopefully augment his prospects.

"Injury is how a lot of people get their chances but you have to take the next game, which is the Wolfhounds, and if you can't perform in that then you're not going to be able to go to the next level, so you just take it one step at a time," he said.

He did so last year but got no further until debuting in Argentina last summer; he then made an 18-minute cameo in the Georgian romp, all the while shining for Connacht, once again scoring a try of the season contender to humiliate Rob Kearney and Leinster.

"Every player in the country would like to go to the World Cup but the only way of doing that is by performing in the games that are coming up, putting your hand up and performing consistently," he said.

"So, that is a huge deal. Obviously I'd love to play this week. It's a great opportunity for everyone ahead of the Six Nations so everyone is just fully focused on this game against a strong English side.

"It's a step up from any level we were playing with our clubs so obviously it's a chance to test ourselves to see if we're ready for the next level.

"We're not worried about who's missing. We're just going into the game looking to deliver as best we can so we can put our hands up to say that we're ready if the opportunity does come.

"It's great to have competition, it brings everyone on to the next level as well as learning from these players. So that can only be a good thing.

"I've learned quite a bit from being in the environment. It does take a bit of getting used to but I feel like I've learned a good bit since I've come here and hopefully I'm ready to take that next step.

"As scrum-halves here, we're learning all the time. Joe has a certain way that he wants his 9s to play and I just go out to try to deliver that as best I can.

"Different coaches want different styles from each player so being able to adapt to is definitely something that you need to work on."

Irish Independent

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