Friend confident scrum-half Marmion will be fit for Ireland’s Six Nations defence

CONNACHT HEAD COACH Andy Friend has confirmed scrum-half Kieran Marmion is on course to return from injury and be available for selection ahead of next month’s Six Nations.

Marmion won the last of his 24 Ireland 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 Six Nations defence against England on 2 February, but Friend has reported 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.

“That was always the plan, to get the operation done and be available for that. All things being equal he should be there for that.”

Friend was speaking at a rugby blitz in Gort RFC in south Galway yesterday, during which the full Connacht squad helped put over 450 school children 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 squad as their club ambassadors.

“Every club around Connacht has been two players who will be ambassadors for their clubs, basically service their needs through the year,” he added.

“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.”

Ahead of a huge weekend of Heineken Champions Cup action, Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey assess the provinces’ chances of putting a foot in the last eight:

Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

Subscribe to our new podcast, Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42, here: