Kieran Marmion effectively ends his Ireland career as Bristol Bears move confirmed
"I'm really excited to have the opportunity
Ireland international scrum-half Kieran Marmion will join Bristol Bears from Connacht ahead of the 2023/24 Gallagher Premiership campaign.
The 31-year-old, who has 28 caps for his country, links back up with Pat Lam having won the Pro 12 title together in 2016. Marmion has made 222 appearances for Connacht during an 11-year spell at the province.
Marmion made his international debut against Argentina in 2014 and was Ireland’s starting scrum half when they edged out the All Blacks in Dublin in 2018. Bristol Bears director of rugby, Pat Lam, said:
"Once Andy Uren had requested an early release, we began the search for a possible replacement – someone with experience who would be the right fit for our team. I’m really pleased to be able to bring in Kieran Marmion - an international scrum half with vast experience who will bring huge value to us on and off the field.
"Having worked closely with him in the past, I know he is the perfect replacement to fill the void following the release of Andy Uren to Benetton Treviso at the end of the season."
Kieran Marmion unlikely to play for Ireland again
Kieran Marmion has made 15 appearances for Connacht this season, with eight of his 15 outings this season coming off the replacements bench.
Marmion added: “I’m really excited to have the opportunity to represent the Bristol Bears on and off the field.
"I’ve followed them closely over the last few years and I’m really looking forward to working with Pat again and being part of the exciting brand of rugby that the Bears look to play.” On Connacht, the 31-year-old said:
"It’s been a really tough decision for me to leave Connacht Rugby. I can’t thank the club enough for the opportunity that they have given me. I’d also like to thank the coaches that I’ve worked with over the years, the many players I’ve played alongside, and the fans for their dedicated support and passion throughout my time here. I cannot express how much it means to us players when you show up week in, week out to support us.
"The people of Connacht have been so welcoming to me ever since I moved over and I’ve been honoured to call the place home for the past 12 years. While my time at the club has come to an end I am excited about the next chapter of my career. I will always look back on my time with Connacht Rugby with huge pride and I wish the club continued success both on and off the field."
By moving to the Premiership, Marmion is effectively walking away from his Test career, as Ultan Dillane did last season by leaving Connacht for La Rochelle. In recent years, he has fallen behind the established Conor Murray and Jamison Gibson-Park in the Irish pecking order, with Craig Casey and Caolin Blade also further ahead.
Marmion featured in two of Ireland's famous wins over the All Blacks, starting against them in 2018, and he once finished on the wing in a battling and injury-hit win over Australia.
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