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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 17 February, 2018

Marmion ready for Ireland start but no underage drinks for Henshaw

The Connacht scrumhalf has been soaking up advice from Isaac Boss but wants to start ahead of him this weekend.

Kieran Marmion gets some advice from Isaac Boss.
Kieran Marmion gets some advice from Isaac Boss.
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

IN HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY, Geordan Murphy reveals a rugby tradition of a player having drinks [beer, shots, etc.] bought for him by his new teammates after making a Test match debut.

Having turned 21 in February, Connacht scrumhalf Kieran Marmion will be able to partake in the team-bonding ritual if he makes his international bow for Ireland, against the US Eagles, on Saturday. The same can not be said for Marmion’s provincial colleague Robbie Henshaw [19], who may be forced to sip a Sprite in whatever Houston watering hole the Irish squad visit post-match.

“Oh yeah, he’s too young for that. We’ll have to wait and see if he can [drink],” says Marmion before laughing. The drinks may have to wait until the squad decamp to Toronto for the second tour match against Canada.

The Ireland backline could well have a youthful look to it, with Simon Zebo and Stuart Olding in line to make starts along with Marmion and Henshaw on tour.  Paddy Jackson [21] and Ian Madigan [24] made their Test bows in the Six Nations.

The experience of Andrew Trimble, James Downey and Isaac Boss will be called upon during the end of season tour and Marmion is already learning a lot from the Leinster scrumhalf. He told

He has been a great help so far and for anything that I am unsure of, he is there to talk me through it. He knows what is needed to succeed at this level.”

Marmion held down the Connacht 9 jersey all season. (©INPHO/James Crombie)

Marmion added, “I want to get a cap, obviously, but at the moment it is all about taking in everything and learning from it… a lot of the work has been on our own structures but we’ve had a bit of a look at the Eagles side but [the first] week is all about getting our gameplan together.”

Interim Ireland coach Les Kiss has given Marmion ample time to run his backline in training sessions and the Welsh-born scrumhalf is eager to make his mark, if selected, against the USA. “I’m sure all the lads will want to put their hands up and make a name for themselves on tour,” he said.

“If you can put your hand up now, hopefully you’ll be considered when all the Lions players come back and the big games [Australia and New Zealand] come up later in the year.

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