Kieran Marmion is determined to make the most of what could be his last audition for a place in Joe Schmidt’s 31-man World Cup Ireland squad when he plays for Connacht against Munster tonight.
Schmidt and Les Kiss will be in attendance at Thomond Park to run their eyes over Ireland hopefuls Marmion, 23, and Nathan White, and the Connacht scrum-half is keen to make an impression.
The Connacht man has had to be satisfied with 12 minutes against Wales in Ireland’s opening World Cup warm-up match, but he thinks the Connacht game-time he has picked up against Castres last weekend, and again tonight, could prove crucial.
“I think it is an advantage for me. The thing Joe goes on about is to make sure we are all match fit. You never know when you are going to be called in, be it an injury or whatever, you never know when you will be called to play. You have got to make sure you are prepared and ready to go when you get the call,” said Marmion, speaking at an event organised by Connacht vehicle sponsors Mazda.
“Joe and Les have already said they’ll be at the game on Friday. And for Connacht as well Pat will be looking to see who’s performing with the first few games in mind. It’s a huge game for Ireland and for Connacht.
“I’m not sure if I’ll get 80 minutes, but every time I play I want to show my best and hopefully impress the people that are watching,” said Marmion.
The Welsh born No. 9 is one of four scrum-halves vying for the likely three places in the World Cup squad. Conor Murray is regarded as a certainty to be selected, while Eoin Reddan and Isaac Boss are Marmion’s main rivals for the two remaining slots.
And Marmion regards Murray’s career as the perfect benchmark for him, seeing as he was catapulted up the pecking order with a stellar World Cup last time out.
“It shows it’s possible. That World Cup was just when I came over to Ireland so I didn’t know too much about Conor before that.
“But since then he has taken his opportunity and really kicked on. It just shows if you get the opportunity and take it there is a big carer there for you.
“You just don’t know who Joe is going to pick, or even if you’ll get back to the next camp. You just have to be prepared if you are picked for the camp.
“I really don’t know if two or three scrum-halves will go. I just have to prepare and be ready.”
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