Marshall solid in first start for the Blues
February 1, 2014
Benji Marshall impressed at fly-half in his first rugby outing in more then a decade © Getty Images
Benji Marshall has made an encouraging start to his Super Rugby career, getting through 40 minutes for the Blues in his first game of rugby union in more than a decade. The former West Tigers and Kiwis rugby league star played the opening two quarters at five-eighth in the Blues' 38-35 pre-season loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday in Masterton.
There was no sign of nerves from Marshall, who distributed the ball well, made the odd run at the line and took on the responsibility of re-starts and kicking for touch. Marshall tried his trademark sidestep once - and met the considerable force of Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea - but mostly, he was content sticking to basics and getting a feel for his new position.
"I didn't set the game on fire but, in terms of trying to get control and feel for playing 10, everything I wanted to get I got out of it," Marshall said. "It wasn't about being the best player on the field. It was just trying to get through what we practised and get a feel for the game."
Marshall didn't shy away in defence, although he failed to hold on to Tim Bateman in the build-up to the Hurricanes' third try. He even opted to get stuck into a couple of rucks, with mixed results. Blues coach John Kirwan was pleased with Marshall's first hit out and ruled out a switch to fullback.
"I think (fly-half) is his position," Kirwan said. "He certainly put his hand up today so we'll put him out there again next week and we'll just keep working on him. It was a good start."
The match, in front of a sold-out crowd of 6000, was an entertaining one, which produced 11 tries - six for the Hurricanes and five for the Blues.
The Blues recovered from a 19-0 deficit to lead 21-19 at half-time, and 35-24 at three-quarter time, but more direct running from the Hurricanes in the final spell produced the rewards and lock James Broadhurst scored the winning try with eight minutes remaining.
Communication error please reload the page.
Ashley Young believes Manchester United got their "just rewards" after his late goal secured a vital win at Newcastle on Wednesday, but manager Louis van Gaal believes his side endured a narrow escape
Greg Growden previews Super Rugby round 4. We've also got key stats, team news and all the line-ups as they are named to inform your ESPN Footytips Super Rugby picks
"South Africa is hungry to once again host rugby's greatest occasion, SARU chief says Jurie Roux after World Rugby announced the tender process
Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis collapsed six minutes into Wednesday's match at Tottenham and was carried off the field on a stretcher
Alex Dreyfus, CEO of the Global Poker Index, envisioned the day when he purchased the European Poker Awards two years ago. While the Europeans have had an annual awards celebration for over a decade, America has never seen a poker awards experience before
The Chiefs are keeping the ball alive when going into contact, and this makes their low turnover rate all the more impressive, Richard Kelly writes
Join Steve Bunce and Barry Jones each week for the latest news, views and debate from the boxing world.
Head injuries are not a trivial matter in sport - especially in one which will never fully eliminate the danger posed to its drivers
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood was so delighted with his side's last-gasp win over West Brom that he said the three points were better than his wife winning the Euro Millions jackpot
He may try and play down his obsession with his appearance, but Cristiano Ronaldo has apparently been sending a personal stylist to regularly brush up his waxwork model
Rafael Benitez has raised concerns about the long-term fitness of Chelsea captain John Terry after revealing the defender is trapped in "a vicious circle" regarding his persistent knee injury
John Terry says he is fighting for his family's future but has pledged never to play for another club when his time at Chelsea comes to an end
Carl Froch has challenged Andre Ward to step into enemy territory at Nottingham Forest's City Ground for their proposed super-middleweight title unification bout
Louis van Gaal has come to the defence of Angel Di Maria after the midfielder's Manchester United career reached a new low when he was taken off at half-time in Saturday's 2-0 win over Sunderland
Crystal Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak has been charged with violent conduct for elbowing West Ham's Diafra Sakho, the Football Association has announced
Eight years ago, Steve Bunce was offered the chance of buying a 'share' in Tyson Fury, and it would have been a shrewd investment if he had the money
After enduring a tricky start to his Manchester United career, perhaps it is fair that Marcos Rojo celebrated so boisterously as he watched his first professional club Estudiantes beat fierce rivals Gimnasia
The idea of Chelsea squeezing in a quick 20-minute Wembley celebration before getting back to work is both admirable and typically soulless, writes Alan Tyers
A basketball match between Bilbao Basket and Laboral Kutxa Baskonia in the Spanish ACB League was marred by a brawl that erupted in the closing stages of the game
Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher marked his return to football punditry by coining a new name for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers