# half measures
Marmion ready to bring energy and more from the start for Ireland
The Connacht man has started just four times at international level, but has impressed Schmidt throughout this year.

CONNACHT AND IRELAND scrum-half Kieran Marmion is looking forward to linking up with Joey Carbery again this weekend if the pair combine at half-back for Saturday’s Test against Fiji.

Joey Carbery and Kieran Marmion celebrates James Crombie / INPHO Ireland's back-up half-backs have also played in a back three together. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

The 25-year-old has been primarily used as a replacement for Ireland, doubling his tally of Test starts with his two outings on the summer tour in the USA and Japan.

In New Jersey, Marmion started alongside Carbery on what was a free-flowing attacking display despite the 10′s difficult afternoon. Even with Fiji the opposition, the same half-backs will likely strive to keep things a little tighter when back in the Aviva Stadium this weekend.

“Me and Joey do a lot of reps together in training, again we just transfer what we’re doing onto the pitch and that’s the main thing,” Marmion said at Carton House before Ireland’s players broke for yesterday’s day off.

“He’s very skillful, he’s talented, he does seriously good things in training and that comes out in games as well. You can definitely expect more from him, he’s going to keep getting better and better.”

Kieran Marmion Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Marmion had another successful appearance off the bench last Saturday, helping Ireland run up a 21 – 0 scoreline during his time on the field against South Africa. His impact could not have been more immediate, as his first touch came in the powerplay that brought Jacob Stockdale’s line-break before Rhys Ruddock’s try.

“Every game is different. Sometimes it goes to plan and sometimes it doesn’t,” Marmion says modestly.

“Every time the bench comes on they want to make an impact and try and lift the lads who have been on for 60, 70 minutes. That is the biggest thing, to bring energy to the game and try and lift lads to get them through to the end.

“We are always watching the game from the sideline looking at what we can bring to the game when we do get on. It’s special when you get 10, 20 minutes, you just empty the tank and give everything on that time.”

In the wake of the win over the Springboks, head coach Joe Schmidt praised Marmion’s athleticism and competitiveness — “he’s a great example of ‘it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the fight in the dog’” –this time around, there will be a greater onus on him imposing a control and structure on the game against a team who thrives on fractured play.

Conor Murray and Kieran Marmion Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Even if Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton are taken out of the firing line completely ahead of the concluding November Test against Argentina, elements of their game will be passed along to the half-backs selected. That said, Marmion and Carbery will be encouraged to bring their own skill-set back to the Test arena rather than simply mimicking the Lions playmakers.

“They’re two very different players to the other two guys who are in front of them,” says skills coach Richie Murphy.

“I think some of the strengths, some of the things that Joey does, he does better than Johnny, and the same in relation to Kieran and Conor. But they’re completely different players, they’ve got different strengths.

“I think when they come in they can see the attention to detail and how diligent the other two are, and that’s a really good thing for them to learn.

“After that, once they understand what’s involved in running the team it’s up to them to go out and let their natural game come through because there’s no point in them going out there thinking they’re Conor and Johnny, it won’t suit their game.”

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Big-stage kicking priceless exposure for Joey Carbery

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