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Marmion in line for November Test duty, ankle injury not as serious as feared

Conor Murray’s continued absence means Joe Schmidt may have to look to the Connacht 9.

SCRUM-HALF KIERAN Marmion is set to miss Connacht’s opening games in the European Challenge Cup, but is hopeful of being available for Ireland for the November internationals.

The 26-year old, who will hope to add to his 22 caps when Ireland face Italy, Argentina, New Zealand and the USA next month, suffered an ankle injury in the opening minute of their win over Ulster at Kingspan Stadium on Friday night.

Kieran Marmion receives treatment from Orla Armstrong Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

He has been ruled out of Saturday’s opening Challenge Cup game against Bordeaux-Begles at the Sportsground but defence coach Peter Wilkins said the injury is not as serious as initially feared.

“He came off in the first minute, which obviously was a big disruption for us, although in fairness to Caolin Blade I thought he played magnificently in attack and defence when he came on,” said Wilkins.

“Marmo went off with an ankle injury and we are just awaiting a scan result on that. But the positive thing he is not feeling as bad as he did that night.

“He won’t be involved this weekend on the back of that but his recovery time will be quicker than it might have seemed on the night.”

Fullback Tiernan O’Halloran is in a similar position, having been injured when scoring their opening try, while Connacht had to use up all three replacements backs in the opening half when centre Tom Farrell also had to go off.

“Tiernan had an issue with his calf or Achilles when Jacob Stockdale tried to make that try-saving tackle

“He was pretty sore, he tried to run it off as the conversion was being taken but couldn’t do it but, similar to Marmo, much more positive this week than we were on the night and again I think we are looking at weeks rather than months,” added Wilkins.

Connacht are unlikely to risk Farrell this weekend as head coach Andy Friend rotates his squad for a pool campaign where all three opponents are more likely to be concerned by domestic issues rather than Europe.

Tom Farrell Tom Farrell yesterday, in training under return to play protocols. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Perpignan are bottom of the Top 14 with seven straight losses, while Sale Sharks moved off the bottom of the Premiership at the weekend and Bordeaux’s third loss in seven leaves them in mid-table.

“Tom had a head knock and came off with a HIA and is going through his protocols this week,” added Wilkins.

“I think he probably could play this week if he ticks all the boxes but it’s a week where we might be looking to rest and rotate him anyway. We won’t push him out if he’s not right, there’s a good chance someone else will get an opportunity this week.”

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Declan Rooney

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