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Marshall nervous ahead of Blues debut

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Sportal.co.nz     30 Jan 2014     Getty Images

The Blues side for the Masterton game was named on Thursday and Marshall was named to start at first five-eighths.

"I'm definitely nervous. It's not like it's a scared nervous, more like a 'not-sure-how-it's-going-to-go' nervous. There're still some facets of the game I don't even know [like] where to stand properly but I'm sure I'll find out pretty quickly after this weekend," he said.

Marshall said the coaching staff had put no pressure on him to try to be the man of the match and his job would be to learn the reality of the game.

"It's been a long time since I played [rugby] but you can do as much training about what you might expect but you don't really get to know until you play. I'm looking forward to it," he said.

Initially, there had been a lot to process but he felt he had achieved clarity this week in his role of getting through the game plan and implementing the things the side had practised.

He wasn't feeling pressure and he said if things went terribly there was only one way to go, up.

"The main thing for me is so long as I can get my hands on the ball and feel like I am in control with the structures I've been given that's probably the most important thing," he said.

The last time he played rugby was in 2002 on the Gold Coast for the Coolangata Barbarians and he got into trouble for it with the Wests Tigers club and was told never to play rugby again.

Marshall said that when he made the switch to rugby last year he thought if might have been an easier change than has been the case because rugby of the modern era seemed so much different.

"Everything I learned in league I have had to throw out the window and start again. It's like going back to school and learning your 2 x table all over again.

"It's been hard, but I suppose the best thing is that one of the best attributes I have is that I am a good listener and I'm just trying to take in everything I can every day. In my head there're about a thousand things to remember," he said.

It was a case of processing rather than coping. He tried to watch as much rugby as he could but the actual running with the ball had been harder.

"My head was way off where it needed to be but what I've learned in these last four weeks has been a lot. But I just try and go home every night and study what I learned that day and a little bit of not only that but rehearsing in my head what I think I need to do and it's worked for me so far," he said.

It was a measure of how things were so different from league that he was in awe of sighting his first scrummaging practice on Wednesday.

"Just the amount of effort that goes into that I've got a new respect for the boys in the forwards. I've been told to stay away from those guys but I've never really believed it until watching them scrum yesterday.

"It's unbelievable how much power...and how strong they are," he said.

There was a difference in the fitness requirements between the two codes and he said league had more repetitive speed while rugby involved more aerobic work and he had lost four or five kilos.

"That's pretty big for me but I'm feeling good, feeling fit and feeling pretty sharp on my feet so that's good," he said.