Marmion praises Doak's progression but warns him to expect tough exam at Aviva

The two rivals could come face to face at the Aviva this Saturday.

Marmion has been impressed by Doak.
Marmion has been impressed by Doak.
Image: Ashley Crowden/INPHO

Updated Oct 22nd 2021, 8:47 AM

CONNACHT SCRUM-HALF Kieran Marmion says he’s been impressed by what he has seen of Ulster’s Nathan Doak but reckons Saturday’s clash at Aviva Stadium will be the biggest test the 19-year old has encountered.

Doak, son of former Ulster scrum-half and coach Neil, has been hugely impressive in the few games he has got at the outset of this season, having made his debut off the bench earlier this year.

But Marmion reckons a full-on inter-pro derby at the Aviva will be a big step up from what the promising young Ulster scrum-half has faced so far.

“Yeah, he’s been good. He has a very good kicking game,” said Marmion. “I think this weekend will probably be the biggest game of his career so he will be under a bit more pressure. He’s been good from what I have seen so far.”

nathan-doak-kicks-the-last-score-of-the-game Nathan Doak has impressed for Ulster. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Marmion said the players were looking forward to playing this game at the Aviva, even if the attendance falls massively short of what was hoped would attend.

“Yeah, we are all excited about it. Whenever you get an opportunity to play in an international stadium it is a great experience. I’m sure there will be more there than we had at the Sportsground. It might feel a little bit empty but at the same time it’s great we can get as many people as we can to a game.

“We are really looking forward to putting on a performance to as many people as possible. Last year we managed to beat them away and at the Aviva so we can take confidence from that and back ourselves to win.

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“Last time we played there we played pretty well. It’s a nice surface, it should be a fast game, hopefully the weather will be nice and we can play a bit of running rugby.”

Marmion, who won the last of his 28 caps when he appeared off the bench against Georgia last November, said that the controversy around their loss to Munster last weekend was quickly parked by players and management.

“That was parked on Monday. We did the review then. What happened happened, we felt it was a much better performance than the week before it, obviously we were disappointed at not getting a result but we can take away that we showed up, that we ran them close. We obviously wanted to win but we take confidence going into this weekend.

“I think it was just a typical inter-pro performance, and we spoke amongst ourselves how can we do that every week? I think the emotions of the occasion bring out the best out of everyone but we need to be delivering every week if we want to finish top of the table,” added the 29-year old.

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John Fallon

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