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Connacht’s Kieran Marmion chasing selection for All Blacks clash

Kieran Marmion hopes his display against Argentina was enough to earn him a shot at the All Blacks this weekend.

The Connacht scrum-half got himself on the scoresheet in Ireland’s 28-17 victory over Los Pumas at the Aviva Stadium, adding further intrigue to who coach Joe Schmidt’s second-choice nine will be come next year’s World Cup.

A neck injury has ruled talisman Conor Murray out of the November Tests opening the door for Marmion and Leinster’s Luke McGrath to show their talents.

But Marmion was pragmatic when talking about the showdown with New Zealand and whether he would be the one given the task of outfoxing opposite number Aaron Smith.

“Absolutely. That’s what I want to do,” 22-time capped Marmion said. “After the Argentina game hopefully I’ve put my hand up. That’s up for Joe and the coaches to decide. All I can do is get ready for that game and if I’m starting great, but I’ll just train as hard as I can.”

The 26-year-old’s Connacht teammate Bundee Aki appears likely to start in Joe Schmidt’s midfield alongside Garry Ringrose.

The Auckland-born centre looked the part for Ireland against the Pumas, playing the 12 shirt usually donned by the injured Robbie Henshaw.

Henshaw will miss out on a chance to face the All Blacks, having scored the late try which sealed the team’s first ever win over the two-time World champions in 2016.

Despite the need to monitor some injuries, head coach Schmidt was handed a boost by having full-back Rob Kearney and Ringrose back in full training on Tuesday.

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