HE’LL BE THROWN somewhat into the deep end this evening, but Ireland captain Rory Best is confident Kieran Marmion can fill the void left by Conor Murray on his first Six Nations start.
The Connacht scrum-half has 13 caps to his name but will face the biggest test of his international career this evening as he deputises for the injured Murray against England at the Aviva Stadium.
“It is a massive day for him,” Best admitted. “You just have to look at the way he’s performing, not just last season, but this season for Connacht. It is something he deserves.
“He is very unlucky he is behind a real world-class nine. It is his day. We always talk that you get your opportunity along the line through someone else’s misfortune.
“For Kieran in his first start in the Six Nations, it is important we give him a big armchair ride because it will make the job easier. Having said that, we’ve seen him play for Connacht off anything. We have a lot of confidence in his ability.”
Marmion came off the bench last week at the Principality Stadium and looked at home in the number nine jersey as he supplied Johnny Sexton with sharp, accurate ball and provided a constant threat from the base of rucks.
It was a performance which underlined his ability at this level and also served as a confidence-booster for the 25-year-old ahead of this weekend.
“Just to see him step up and do it at the next levels is reassuring,” Best added. “We’ve seen him perform on the wing in the Autumn [against Australia].
“It is nice to see him in his usual position at scrum-half. That’s why you build a squad. That’s why you have players there.
“He’s performing well in training this week. He performed well last week. We have no doubt he will perform well.”
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