Rugby: One small step in long journey for Marshall

By Steve Hepburn of Otago Daily Times

Benji Marshall during his Blues debut against the Highlanders. Photo / Getty Images
Benji Marshall during his Blues debut against the Highlanders. Photo / Getty Images

The most hyped debut for many a year happened in Dunedin on Saturday night, but for Benji Marshall it was just another step in what is going to be a long journey.

He came off the bench with just over 20 minutes left - to a cheer from the crowd - and added some impetus to a sputtering Blues side.

The former Kiwis captain said there was not much else to do but roam, and he had a free licence to try some things.

Marshall did not set the game on fire but he was a point of difference and may make his starting debut next week.

He came on at fullback and said that was coming easier to him than first five-eighth, where he had started the trial games.

"The difference between 15 and 10 is you can get a lot wider and you can see a bit more of game, whereas 10 you are closed in to seeing the flankers coming and that.

"I feel like I can cover both but from a pressure point of view I'm probably not ready to be leading the team round the park at 10."

League and union were not bedfellows for Marshall.

"Everything is different. There is nothing similar about rugby and league. Everything I learned in league I had to throw out the window.

"I'm still learning. I honestly thought when I came it was going to be a lot similar.

"But I was wrong. I have still got a lot to learn but I feel as though I'm learning more and more every week. Hopefully I can get some more game time next week.

"I was just surprised how much expectation there was to be good straight away. JK [coach Sir John Kirwan] said embrace that expectation, but jeez, it is hard."

- Otago Daily Times

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