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Adaptable Kieran Marmion happy to wing it for good of Ireland

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 28/11/2016

Hard task: Kieran Marmion did well in his unfamiliar role as a winger
Hard task: Kieran Marmion did well in his unfamiliar role as a winger

For the second week in a row, Ireland scrum-half Kieran Marmion found himself facing down one of the world's best sides as a winger.

Just as against New Zealand seven days prior, the Connacht man was forced into unfamiliar surroundings in Saturday's win against Australia thanks to injuries to his team-mates, this time a blow to the ribs sustained by Ulster's Jared Payne that saw him subbed at half-time.

Producing one memorable hit on David Pocock, the back-rower being some 20kg heavier, that forced the Australian into a forward pass shortly after coming on, the Welsh-raised player acquitted himself well in testing circumstances.

"I got a bit of a taster of it last week," he said. "I obviously haven't played there much so it was about trusting my instincts.

"The lads on the sideline actually helped me out a good bit.

"(Skills coach) Richie Murphy was kind of telling me what to do so I was trying to listen to him and get on with it."

Marmion added that with himself and Joey Carbery forced out of position, trusting the defensive system was key to holding on for the 27-24 victory.

"Just trust the lads around you. Everyone on the pitch was helping me out and the lads on the sideline were helping me out," he said.

"So it was just listening to them and just getting on with it, hoping that we'd win the game and we did."

And while many a natural winger would have been proud of some of his defensive contributions, Marmion was just pleased for the opportunity to show his value.

"Getting off the line and trying to shut (Pocock) down as quickly as possible, that was the key," he said.

"Obviously he is a pretty big lad so the plan was to go low on him and hopefully bring him down.

"It's great exposure to be out there. Even though I wasn't in my main position, just being on the pitch - I can take a lot of experience from that. So hopefully moving forward I can push on and keep going."

And so too can Ireland after a year in which they have beaten New Zealand, Australia and South Africa - the first time anyone has managed such a feat since England in 2003.

"That was mentioned before the game," revealed Marmion. "Obviously that's a huge achievement, it gives us a lot of confidence and going forward hopefully we'll push on from that.

"Before the game we spoke about finishing off this November series on a high.

"So it was important in terms of going into the Six Nations, I think we can build a lot of confidence off that.

"Coming back into camp, we should be on a high. Obviously there are a lot of things to fix there as well but I think we're in a good place going forward."

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