Tuesday 25 September 2018

Marmion rates Murray 'probably the best in the world'

Kieran Marmion
Kieran Marmion

Ireland's back-up scrum-half Kieran Marmion is competing against "probably the best in the world" in Conor Murray.

This is not just a statement plucked out of the clear blue sky over Carton House.

It is a close-up opinion from what Marmion sees for Ireland and when they are back home with their provinces.

"I guess it's just his basics (that) he's so good at, and that's something I want to improve on to get closer to him," he said Marmion.

"I mean, he's probably the best passer and kicker in the game, especially his kicking at the moment is so accurate.

"That's something I want to try and get to," he said.

"I have to keep trying as hard as I can to improve as much as I can to get as close to him as I can."

This is where the constant and consistent demands of Ireland coach Joe Schmidt enter the argument.

"Joe is always driving on to me about the basics of the game," he added.

"I mean, when you step up to the Irish standard, players have a lot less time on the ball, so it's just about making sure everyone's as sharp as possible."

It is not unkind, merely a recognised fact, that Marmion has to be more concerned about Luke McGrath closing in on him than on how close he is to Murray.

It comes as no surprise to learn Marmion never really paid too much attention to the Peter Stringers, Dwayne Peels or Dmitri Yachvilis of the rugby world.

When you watch him play, it is usually with the sense that he is closer in the spirit of the game to a frustrated centre or wing.

This is why the odd emergency service appearance on the wing has never rankled too much.

Afterall, it is his breaking game that most frightens, not his passing or his kicking.

"To be honest I never really looked at the scum-halves that much," he said.

"I liked the outside backs and all that kind of stuff, lads making breaks.

"I never really had a scrum-half role model, to be honest."

That figures.

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