Connacht coach Andy Friend has confirmed that scrum-half Kieran Marmion is on course to return from injury and be available for selection next month.
Marmion, who will be 27 on February 11, won the last of his 24 caps in the win over the All Blacks in November but then underwent surgery on an ankle injury a few days later.
It remains to be seen if Marmion is ready for the start of Ireland’s defence of the Six Nations against England on February 2, but his recovery has gone well.
“He is definitely on course,” said Friend. “He started running at the start of this week. He pulled up fine from that, which is always a positive sign. At this point he is on course for a return in February.
Friend was speaking at a rugby blitz in Gort RFC in south Co Galway yesterday in which the full Connacht squad helped put more than 450 schoolchildren through their paces.
The Connacht coach said he was encouraged by the growth of the game he was witnessing throughout the province.
Earlier this week, a new scheme was announced where each club in the province has been allocated a couple of players from the Connacht professional squad as their club ambassadors.
“Every club around Connacht has been allocated two players who will be ambassadors for their clubs, basically service their needs through the year.
“There is a minimum of two attendances that they have to go to.
“If they want a jersey presentation or turn up and talk to the kids, or some players, the players are there. It’s about us as a club linking into the community and trying to grow the game of rugby,” added Friend.