Rugby: Marshall gets first taste of Blues

By Josh Berry

Rugby league convert Benji Marshall got his first taste of professional rugby today as he attended his first pre-season training with the Auckland Blues. Photo / Brett Phibbs.
Rugby league convert Benji Marshall got his first taste of professional rugby today as he attended his first pre-season training with the Auckland Blues. Photo / Brett Phibbs.

Rugby league convert Benji Marshall got his first taste of professional rugby today as he attended his first pre-season training with the Auckland Blues.

It was Marshall's first encounter with the wider Blues training squad and he was quick to fit in with current players.

"[It] made me definitely feel old out there today amongst those young fullas," Marshall said.

"The boys got a good gauge of what I'm like, I'm a bit of a joker and like mucking around and I showed them a bit of that this morning."

However he wasn't shy in admitting there were a few reservations upon meeting his 2014 team-mates.

"I was really nervous this morning about sitting in the team environment for the first time, [But] the boys were good to me and made me feel welcome.

"Just that first team meeting, I didn't know many people, it was a bit scary but everyone's been awesome."

Marshall, 28, joins the Blues after playing rugby league for Balmain's West Tigers and says in order to capitalise in the 15-man game he will be looking to a childhood hero for inspiration.

"My favourite player coming through was Christian Cullen, so if I can emulate half of what he did in the game and play a little bit like he did I'll be pretty happy.

"No-one really knows how it's going to go yet, I can only guess and hope that it goes great and I'll give myself every chance by training as hard as I can."

Aside from the shift from rugby league to rugby union, Marshall also says his transition into the New Zealand lifestyle has given him time to re-connect with his roots.

"I've been really happy with the transition and suppose I haven't felt this happy and relaxed for a long-time which has been great.

"Just to be home back in New Zealand and the chance to see a lot more of family has been pretty appealing for me and something I've really been enjoying.

"It's been five years since I've had a good break mentally... to have the last six weeks just doing nothing and resting, it's been refreshing and it's great to be home."

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