Marmion aims to push Murray all the way
With the game in Rome done and dusted a long way from home, Kieran Marmion remained on the bench as Conor Murray visibly wilted.
Marmion's arrival, deep into trash time, allowed supporters to once again witness his ability to thrive in broken play against wounded, depleted opponents but also reminded us that he remains as far away as ever to challenging Murray's pre-eminence.
"I want to challenge him but at the moment I think he's probably the best in the world," Marmion says simply.
"It's just his basics, he's so good at them and that's something I want to improve on to get closer to him.
"He's going really well at the moment so 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.
"You just have to work away at it. It's repetition.
"Obviously he's a lot bigger than me so he gets the leverage in his passing and his kicking, so I just have to be sharper and try and get my release on the ball quicker, and try and make sure the lads outside me have more time.
"Joe (Schmidt) is always driving on to me about the basics of the game. 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," said Marmion ahead of Saturday's clash with France in Dublin.