Connacht ace Kieran Marmion has put an end to a long spell of speculation surrounding his future by signing a new contract at the western province.
The deal will see the scrum-half continue his stint with Connacht until at least 2023, putting a close to the speculation that he was set for a move abroad, with Saracens reportedly interested in the London-born player.
Connacht head coach Andy Friend is delighted that Marmion has signed on as he believes he is a valuable player to have within the squad.
“Kieran has been an outstanding player for Connacht and for Ireland,” said coach Andy Friend. He is a diligent professional and, through his hard work, he has progressed through the Connacht Academy and on to play for Ireland. His progress demonstrates the support that is available to players through our academy pathway. Kieran’s commitment to Connacht for a further three seasons demonstrates his ambition to contribute at provincial and international level in the coming years. His signing also ensures that we continue to retain a squad equipped to compete at the highest level of European club rugby,” he said.
The 27-year-old is the fifth player to sign an extension with the club in the past two weeks as they look to continue to build for the future with captain Jarrad Butler, Tiernan O’Halloran, Sean O’Brien and Tom Farrell all signing new deals too.
It also comes as a massive boost to the Irish national side as a move abroad for Marmion would have seen him lose his spot in the team, however, with this decision he can be included in new coach’s Andy Farrell’s thoughts.
Having been excluded from Ireland’s Rugby World Cup squad it would have been unsurprising to see him chase a new dream elsewhere, but for now Connacht and Ireland fans will get to watch him on their shores during the prime of his career.
Connacht will hope to use their extension delight to fuel them as they prepare for a tough trip to Toulouse this Saturday in the second round of the Champions Cup.
Sio poised for Exeter debut
Australia prop Scott Sio is set to start for his Exeter Chiefs debut as the 2020 Heineken Champions Cup winners visit Gloucester Rugby in the Gallagher Premiership on Friday night.
The 31-year-old, who could get his first taste of EPCR competition when Exeter travel to Castres Olympique in their Heineken Champions Cup Pool A opener on December 10, comes in as one of five changes to the side that started last Saturday’s 22-20 defeat to Saracens.
Captain Jack Yeandle comes in at hooker, with flanker Lewis Pearson the other change in the pack, while fit-again wing Josh Hodge is handed a start along with centre Rory O’Loughlin.
Gloucester, who welcome Union Bordeaux-Bègles in their first Heineken Champions Cup Pool A fixture, also on December 10, have made four alterations to the starting XV for their 22-21 win at London Irish a week ago.
🚨 FIXTURE DETAILS 🚨
Get those diaries out, start booking 🗓
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) October 7, 2022
Prop Harry Elrington and lock Cam Jordan are brought in, with Ben Morgan starting at No.8 as Ruan Ackermann shifts to blindside flanker. Lloyd Evans is also called up at full-back, with Santiago Carreras switching to the wing.
Leinster Rugby are the other Heineken Champions Cup side in action on Friday as they make the trip to Scarlets in the United Rugby Championship.
The Irish province are much-changed from their 27-13 victory over Munster Rugby last Saturday, with flanker Scott Penny the only player to retain his place.
Centre Charlie Ngatai, fly-half Ross Byrne, prop Ed Byrne and lock Ross Molony are all involved for last season’s Heineken Champions Cup runners-up, while Tadgh McElroy, Charlie Tector and Ben Brownlee are all potential debutants from the bench.
Racing 92 v Leinster set for Le Havre
The EPCR have this morning confirmed the full 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup pool stage fixture dates, kick-off times, venues and TV coverage, including the venue for the December clash between Leinster Rugby and Racing 92 in France.
EPCR had already confirmed this week that BT Sport, as well as RTÉ, ITV and S4C, have all agreed multi-year partnerships for the new broadcast cycle in Ireland and the UK.
BT Sport, who have been a partner since 2015, have recommitted as lead broadcaster in Ireland and the UK until the conclusion of the 2023/24 season.
In addition, RTÉ, has come on board in Ireland to provide free-to-air coverage.
RTÉ has already confirmed that it will broadcast both Leinster Rugby home games in the pool stages of the 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup on free-to-air on RTÉ2 television and on RTÉ Player.
The agreements with RTÉ and ITV, which will see each broadcaster cover one Heineken Champions Cup match per round in Ireland and in the UK – including the Final – on a free-to-air basis, also run until the end of the 2023/24 season.
Click HERE for the full 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup pool stage fixtures.
Leinster Rugby will start their campaign on Saturday, 10 December against three-time finalists, Racing 92, in Pool A and that game will be broadcast on BT Sport. The game will be played at the 25,000-capacity Stade Océane in Le Havre.
On Friday, 16 December 2022, at 8pm, Leinster Rugby will host Gloucester Rugby at the RDS Arena for the Round 2, Pool A encounter (live on RTÉ TV).
After the Christmas break, on Saturday 14 January 2023, it’s the return leg, as Leinster visit Kingsholm Stadium to take on Gloucester with a 1pm kick-off (live on ITV).
On the following Saturday, the final game of the pool stages sees Leinster welcome Racing 92 to Aviva Stadium with a 3.15pm start (live on RTÉ).
Ticketing information will be emailed to season ticket holders in the first instance with public sale thereafter.
2022/23 key dates
Round 1 – 9/10/11 December 2022
Round 2 – 16/17/18 December 2022
Round 3 – 13/14/15 January 2023
Round 4 – 20/21/22 January 2023
Round of 16 – 31 March – 1/2 April 2023
Quarter-finals – 7/8/9 April 2023
Semi-finals – 28/29/30 April 2023
EPCR Challenge Cup final – Friday 19 May 2023; Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 20 May 2023; Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Images & Content from Leinster Rugby
RTÉ To Broadcast Munster Home Champions Cup Fixtures
RTÉ have today confirmed fixture details for both of Munster’s home Heineken Champions Cup Pool fixtures against Toulouse and Northampton Saints.
See home fixture details below with details yet to be confirmed for our away games.
Ticket details will be released shortly.
Heineken Champions Cup Fixtures
Sunday, December 11, 2022
Round 1: Munster Rugby v Stade Toulousain, Thomond Park, 3.15pm;
December 16/17/18, 2023
Round 2: Northampton Saints v Munster Rugby, TBC;
Saturday, January 14, 2023
Round 3: Munster Rugby v Northampton Saints, Thomond Park, 3.15pm;
January 20/21/22, 2023
Round 4: Stade Toulousain v Munster Rugby, TBC;
Images & Content from Munster Rugby
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