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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 5 December, 2019

Luke Marshall: If we play like that again, there’s no point going on the pitch next week

The Ulster centre also put his hand up for allowing Quade Cooper in for a second-half try.

Luke Marshall trudges down the tunnel after Ireland lost 32-15 to Australia.
Luke Marshall trudges down the tunnel after Ireland lost 32-15 to Australia.
Image: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

LUKE MARSHALL HAS not had an easy ride since making his Ireland debut against Scotland earlier this year.

The Ulster centre was an attacking dynamo against the Scots but was guilty of a knock-on in an agonising away defeat. He shipped a concussive blow in his next game out — a 13-13 draw with France — and was thoroughly concussed, and led off the field, the following week as Italy consigned Ireland’s Six Nations to the scrapheap.

Logic prevailed over the summer and Marshall missed the tour wins over Canada and the USA. He was omitted from the squad that dismissed Samoa but started against Australia last night and was part of an error-strewn, defensively porous backline.

The 22-year-old’s major contribution to affairs in Ireland’s 32-15 defeat was let to Quade Cooper in for the Wallaby’s third try. Marshall showed a lot of character post-match as he admitted he was at fault for the score.

He told “At half-time I thought we could definitely win the game. I thought there was a swing in momentum at the end of the first half, so we were pretty confident going into the second half. But we gave a try away early on and that killed us a bit.  A lapse in concentration in defence let him free. It’s as easy a score he will get for himself.” Marshall added:

I was looking back on it on the big screen and he probably was my man. It was a lapse in concentration and playing new combinations. Not the defence I’m used to but, no, I put my hand up; my mistake, and it was a pretty costly error, early on in the second-half.”

It was suggested to Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, who did not argue the point, that a similar display against the world champion All Blacks next Sunday could mean they put 50+ points on the scoreboard. The Irish 12 agreed.

They may do, but I don’t think we plan to play like that next week. If we plan to play like that, there’s no point in going out on the pitch next week. We’ll go out and aim to win. If you ever go out not expecting to win, you shouldn’t be going out; you shouldn’t be playing for your country.”

While Marshall contested that the scoreline may have flattered Australia, he felt the visitors fully deserved their win. New Zealand arrive in Ireland this evening and will be eyeing a win at Lansdowne Road that will see them finish 2013 unbeaten.

Marshall will do well to hold onto his spot and Gordon D’Arcy’s stronger defensive game may see him partner Brian O’Driscoll in the Irish midfield. “This week, when I got the nod,” Marshall commented, “Gordon was still giving me all the advice, helping me improve and obviously for me as a young player that is key. He has so much experience and advice to give and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can. If he gets the nod next week, that is just the way it goes.”

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Patrick McCarry

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