An injury update from Connacht has confirmed that scrum half Kieran Marmion, who played a key role in Ireland’s 16-9 GUINNESS Series victory over New Zealand on Saturday, will have an operation on an ankle injury which will rule him out until February.
Kieran Marmion’s ankle problem first surfaced when he had to hobble off in the opening minutes of Connacht’s interprovincial derby win at Ulster last month, and he suffered ‘a rolled ankle’ during his try-scoring performance against Argentina.
He recovered to play his part as Ireland’s starting scrum half in Saturday’s historic home success against the All Blacks, but as Connacht head coach Andy Friend explains, the decision has been taken to book him in for an operation tomorrow.
“He was brilliant against New Zealand. He was very focused and driven for that New Zealand performance, you could see it in his eyes as he built up to it. He knew there was an opportunity for him there and he certainly produced on the night,” said Friend, who has taken a 25-man squad to South Africa for back-to-back games against the Isuzu Southern Kings and the Toyota Cheetahs.
“Kieran suffered that foot and ankle injury in the first 45 seconds of the Ulster match and that has hampered him since then. He is a tough man, he’s got all the resilience and quality that you want from a player as well as the skill-set, and he managed to get through a few games.
“But the bottom line is that there is an underlying issue there. The collective decision from the IRFU and from Connacht was to look after him and fix it as quickly as possible. Hence the reason to get the surgery done this week.”
He added: “Caolin Blade has been outstanding for us and in all honesty it was tough to not be selecting him even as well as Marmo has been going. It was tough on Bladey because he hasn’t done much wrong. James Mitchell gets his opportunity now and it’s a really important time for him too.”
The untimely injury means Marmion will miss the final four rounds of the Challenge Cup pool stages, including the upcoming back-to-back clashes with French side Perpignan, and Connacht’s festive derby matches against Leinster, Ulster and Munster.
The Connacht squad flew out from Dublin on Sunday morning to their training base in Cape Town where they will be based for the next two weeks. Paul Boyle (shoulder), Cillian Gallagher (head), Matt Healy (foot), Dave Heffernan (ankle), Eoghan Masterson (thumb) and Peter McCabe (head) are back in full team training, with Boyle, Healy and McCabe having travelled to South Africa.
Young prop Conan O’Donnell has undergone surgery on the hand injury he sustained in the Dragons match last time out and will be out of action until December. There are no new updates on Eoin McKeon (shoulder), Craig Ronaldson (knee) and Conor McKeon (shoulder), who are all are on the longer-term injury list.