Connacht’s bid to claim a fourth Challenge Cup win of the season has been boosted by Ireland scrum-half Kieran Marmion pledging his future to the province.
Marmion, 25, has penned a two-year extension to his current Connacht deal that will see him at the club for 10 seasons, should he remain until the end of his contract.
He is expected to be named in Kieran Keane’s team for tomorrow’s European clash at the Sportsground, and a second win in a week against Brive will leave the westerners in prime position to reach the quarter-finals for the second season running.
“Since joining the Connacht Academy, I have received great guidance from coaches and management in the club and I am extremely proud of what we have achieved to date,” said Marmion.
“As a squad, we are excited about the coming seasons and are working towards bringing more success to the province.
“With the World Cup in 2019 only around the corner, I hope to be involved in the Irish squad in the years to come.”
Connacht have 14 points from a possible 15 in their Challenge Cup pool and, after their win over Brive last weekend, they lead the French side by seven points. With progression unlikely for the visitors, it is possible they will again field a weakened side and, after his side came back from 16 points down to win in France, coach Nigel Carolan hopes to see a similar attitude this weekend.
“I think the important thing was that we didn’t panic. Brive started with a high intensity and were very physical and, through a bit of bad luck, a couple of miscued kicks and some penalty calls that went against us, we put ourselves under pressure, but we kept our composure and we just kept playing and waited for our opportunity,” said Carolan.
“Once we got them, we were very clinical. Before half-time we had only two shots, but we got two tries and that brought us back into the game. I wouldn’t say confidence is massive. I think our feet are on the ground. We know we haven’t had a great run in the PRO14, of late, but dealing with these physical teams and we score the number of points we have, we’re capable of that. Without being complacent we just have to back it up again.”
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