Ireland and Connacht out half started the Six Nations match against England
Ireland scrum half Kieran Marmion made another step forward as an international test player when he started against England on Saturday.
The Connacht player deputised for regular starter Conor Murray in the final Six Nations match after the latter's injury against Wales the previous week.
The Welsh born Ireland international only found out he was playing in Saturday's win a couple of days earlier as he explained to Off The Ball.
"Conor trained all week up until Thursday morning, then he had a fitness test just before the session on that Thursday and he didn't come through that. Just before the training session, Joe put me in, so I did that session and then straight into the Captain's Run on Friday. So I found out Thursday morning," he said.
"I kind of knew that Conor was carrying a knock and he could potentially be a bit of a doubt so I'd started preparing myself anyway, just in case."
Murray has developed into a world class talent for Munster and Ireland, an individual rise which Marmion hopes to learn from.
"I watch him play and see him play so well and when I play I just try and play as well as I can as well. When you're playing at those kind of levels like test matches, it's really small things that make big differences so I think that's probably where he's going so well at the moment. He makes and does those small things so well. But I'm always trying to push myself and try and be as good as I can and get as close as I am to him. So all I can do is keep working away and keep trying to do that," said Marmion.
On the England game, he revealed that the pace of the game was the most intense he'd been involved in as a starter, and is targeting further involvement this summer during the tour to Japan.