James Marshall has a unique job description that varies every week.

Sometimes he is a bench specialist for the Hurricanes who could be thrown into the mix anywhere in the backline. At other times, he is entrusted with running the cutter when regular first five-eighths Beauden Barrett takes his prescribed rest.

Then there are weeks like this one when other injuries allow the 26-year-old to start at fullback.

It's a challenging mindset for a player to train all week and know you might get only 15-20 minutes at the end of a game when the result could be settled.


But he will start for the Hurricanes when they tackle the Reds in Brisbane this evening.

"I've just got to be ready for any opportunity and, whenever I get an opportunity, I've got to try to take that," Marshall said.

If the Hurricanes had beaten the Waratahs last week, they would have rested a collection of their All Blacks against the lowly Reds who have failed to fire in 2015.

But coach Chris Boyd doesn't want to risk losing two games on the bounce so has selected most of his internationals.

Fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder, who has been a revelation this year, picked up a calf complaint which will keep him on the sidelines for a week. Enter Marshall.

Hurricanes suffer their first loss of the season, playing the Waratahs.

"Every team is challenging and, like everyone says, if you do take someone lightly, you'll lose," Marshall said of the Reds. "We are coming off a loss so we are in no position to take any team lightly. We can't afford to drop two games in a row and I think that's how everyone sees it."

The utility back, who plays for Taranaki in the ITM Cup, will get at least one more starting opportunity in the No 10 jersey this season given Barrett must sit out another match.

Boyd said their away fixtures against either the Crusaders or Blues could be possible matches to rest their All Blacks.


The Hurricanes are heading towards a tough second half of the season when six of their final eight games will be against fellow New Zealand sides.

Home-and-away outings against the Chiefs and Crusaders loom as particularly tough but they have no reason to doubt they can't perform given they've opened their campaign with seven wins from eight.

"I think it's going to be good," Hurricanes skipper Conrad Smith said. "I enjoy the local games - they're easy to get up for - and I think we'll enjoy those challenges."

Meanwhile, Hurricanes assistant coach John Plumtree didn't travel to Brisbane with the team on Friday due to a back injury. He was expected to recover and rejoin the side next week.