Super 15: Auckland Blues recruit Benji Marshall admits nerves and excitement

Last Updated: 30/10/13 11:54am

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Benji Marshall: Up for Blues challenge

Benji Marshall: Up for Blues challenge

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Benji Marshall admits he is 'pretty nervous' as he gears up Super 15 rugby with the Auckland Blues after making the transition from rugby league.

The 28-year-old last played rugby union as a 16-year-old and has spent more than a decade with Wests Tigers in Australia's National Rugby League, going on to become the club's all-time leading point-scorer, as well as captaining the New Zealand league team.

But while being nervous, the new challenge also excites the playmaker, who has ambitions to represent the All Blacks.

He said: "I'm pretty nervous to be honest.

"I've been in an environment for 11 years where I've sort of known what's going to happen week in, week out, whereas now there's a lot of unknowns. I suppose that's also the exciting part about it."
Benji Marshall

"I've been in an environment for 11 years where I've sort of known what's going to happen week in, week out, whereas now there's a lot of unknowns. I suppose that's also the exciting part about it.

"I'm coming in as the new kid, just hoping I can bring what I know from what I've learnt in rugby league, not only as a player, but as a person and a leader."

Take time

Blues coach John Kirwan said he is likely to start his star recruit at fullback, before giving him more responsibility as fly-half as he adjust to the new code.

"We're not going to rush Benji in, we're going to take our time, he's signed with us for a couple of years," Kirwan said.

"We think we'll start him at fullback... (but) he acts like a 10, he's a great leader and he knows what he wants, so he's got the personality to be a 10. Initially though, we want to get him some game time and see how he adjusts to it, and that will be at 15."

After also adding three World Cup winners to his roster for 2014 in the form of Jerome Kaino, Tony Woodcock and Ma'a Nonu, the Blues coach is looking for a major improvement on last season's 10th-placed finish.

"At the end of the day this franchise needs success so hopefully we can make the play-offs and have a real good crack at it," he said.

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