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From Benchy to Bungee Marshall

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WELLINGTON - Benji Marshall says he had a decent crack at rugby union. But did he really?

The transition between rugby league and rugby union is a big enough gap for the very best athletes. It becomes a chasm when you jump straight in the deep end like Marshall did.

A 212-minute bid to prove himself as a rugby player ended when the decorated league playmaker asked for a release from his Blues contract midway through the Super Rugby season.

A return to rugby league looms.

Marshall reckons he is "average" at the 15-man game and will seek the natural fit of a code where he thrived for the Wests Tigers and Kiwis for a decade.

Yet it was the challenge of converting to rugby union that Marshall openly said he found most enticing late last year.

He relished the chance to cross codes, into Auckland's rugby fishbowl. He said it would take time, but he was up for the fight.

He acknowledged that even the most successful converts to rugby in New Zealand — Brad Thorn and Sonny Bill Williams — took more than a season to find their feet.


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