Ulster Rugby v Benetton Rugby

course, John Cooney – he’s played most of the games at 9, he’s fitted in and done really well. “That’s what every squad needs - 3, 4, 5 guys knocking at the door. Coaches’ decisions should be tough every week and as a player you know you can’t rest on your laurels from one week to the next. If I want to play I know I’ve got to train hard, I’ve got to play well otherwise there are other guys queueing up to get involved.” On the journey to achieving his 200th cap, Marshall committed himself to continual learning and it is this focus on improvement which perhaps, in part, explains his longevity at Ulster Rugby. “I think if you don’t want to keep learning or keep getting better then you stagnate. For me I’m not the most talented player, I know that, I know that there are a lot of guys naturally more gifted than I am. At school, I realised that if I want to be involved I have to train as hard as I can and that takes attitude. I’ve been blessed to play the game for so long in this environment and I’ve enjoyed it but I don’t feel like I’m ready for it to end yet and that’s why I’m still pushing on and working hard and trying to be the best that I can be. “I was excited when I heard that Dwayne [Peel] was coming to coach because I loved watching him as a player. I thought he was one of the best 9s around in that era when he was involved. Some of the drills he’s brought in have been really good from a 9s point of view and all the 9s have benefitted from him being here. He’s helped me with a few tweaks to my game including my kicking style. I could easily have turned around and said I’ve done this for the past few years, I don’t need to change but you’ve got to be open and honest as a player to realise that you can still get better and try new things and keep your mind active. I’m just as ambitious as ever, I want to play every week and if I don’t get to play every week, for me, that’s not success from a rugby point of view.”



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