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Four uncapped players bound for Argentina

Connacht scrum-half Kieron Marmion and Ulster flanker Robbie Diack stand one step away from making their Ireland debuts.

The former Exiles Marmion, South Africans Diack and Rob Herring and Munster’s James Cronin look to take their careers to the next level as the four uncapped players to make the Ireland squad for Argentina.

Welsh-born Marmion, 22, has been earmarked as one of Connacht’s two outstanding young players set for exposure at the highest level of the game.

“He’s uncapped, he went away on tour last year, toured for two weeks and didn’t get on to the field and I think he has done a super job again this year,” offered Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.

“His resilience is amazing, his ability to defend behind the line, he has worked hard on his kicking and passing game and merits to have an opportunity at national level.”

Marmion first made national headlines for the Ireland U20s in the Six Nations and at the World Cup in South Africa two years ago.

His progress has been consistent and he played in every game for his club this season accumulating a remarkable 1,809 minutes.

If Marmion is one of those Irish men taken out of the Exiles system, Diack is a South African, who made a commitment to qualify for Ireland under the residency rule.

In fact, Diack is at the end of his sixth season at Ulster with 128 caps for the province and has impressed Schmidt in a way he didn’t do for his predecessor Declan Kidney.

“One of the things on Robbie, we selected three locks as well, Robbie is a guy who can go there. He has played number eight before and he is multi-faceted - a very, very good lineout player,” contributed Schmidt.

Exploded

Twenty-three-years old loose-head Cronin has exploded on to the provincial scene to challenge the previously capped Dave Kilcoyne at Munster.

“He had a great start to the season and was in close contest with Dave Kilcoyne and we just like the way he is developing and we want to see a little bit more of him,” noted Schmidt.

The novice has played just 28 times for Munster, 26 of his caps coming this season in what is a remarkable story.

Another South African Herring, 24, profited from the ill-luck to other hookers.

“He has spent a fair bit of time 
with us in camp and with Richardt Strauss and Sean Cronin not touring, Mike Sherry is injured and Jason Harris-Wright dislocated his shoulder,” said Schmidt.

“You take two or three hookers out and you try take three on tour and it doesn’t leave too many. At the same time, I think Robbie has played really well and merits his place.

“He has a good throwing game and I thought he had a super game in Thomond Park where he defensively did a fantastic job, getting off the line, making tackles.”


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