Connacht scrum half Kieran Marmion says he was left stunned and speechless by a 60-second phone call with Joe Schmidt that ended his World Cup dreams.
After spending five years as Conor Murray’s back-up, Marmion was left out of Ireland’s final squad for Japan as Schmidt punted on Leinster’s Luke McGrath instead of the Connacht man.
A late call from Schmidt on the eve of the squad announcement was not a good sign, but missing the cut came as a crushing blow to the Connacht No. 9.
“It was a short discussion. It wasn’t very long. I think it was a Sunday evening. We had played Wales the day before. The call wasn’t any longer than a minute. He [Schmidt] just pretty much told me they were going with two other nines,” said 28-year-old Marmion.
“I didn’t ask any questions, I just managed to take in the news. I was a bit taken aback by it. That’s the way it was.”
Instead of taking some time to get over the setback Marmion was straight back into action, when he and his fellow unsuccessful squad members were asked to train the next morning as normal. Along with Jordi Murphy and Will Addison, Marmion found it a tough session.
“I had to go training the next day. That was obviously tough. There were three of us that hadn’t made the squad. Then there was obviously the fact that everyone there was very happy to have made it, but us three were there to make up the training numbers.
“That was a pretty tough few days in camp, just helping out, knowing that we wouldn’t be going but we still had to keep training anyway.
“I was obviously disappointed not to be going. I just had to get back into the swing of things as quickly as I could with Connacht. That’s how I kind of dealt with it really, I suppose.”