Tim Hales/AP/Press Association Images

League superstar Marshall to complete union switch with Blues - reports

The New Zealander will return to his homeland for a cool half a million per year.

FORMER NEW ZEALAND Rugby League captain Benji Marshall has agreed to switch to union and will play for the Auckland Blues from next season, reports in his native country say today.

The 28-year-old has been seeking a release from the remaining two years on his contract with the NRL’s Wests Tigers and had been linked with a move to the NSW Waratahs and the Melbourne Rebels.

According to the New Zealand Herald, however, he has agreed to join the Auckland Blues for the beginning of their 2014 Super Rugby campaign.

The Herald adds that Marshall has signed on for a two-year contract worth NZ$ 500,000 (€298,000) annually from their own coffers with no ‘top-up’ from the NZRU.

It is believed that the influence of Piri Weepu has been pivotal to Marshall opting for the Blues. Weepu made the move north from the Wellington Hurricanes last year and is said to have been a big factor in bringing his good friend Marshall back across the Tasman.

Still, Weepu was sure to add the caveat that the five-eighth would need work extremely hard to make the switch from being one of League’s star playmakers to a raw back three or midfield flyer in the original form of the game.

“For me it’s a question of waiting to see what his mindset is like,” Weepu told Radio Sport. “If he’s willing to do some dirty work in terms of putting your head down in a ruck and smashing some guy that’s over the ball.”

Once the hard work’s done, here’s what you can look forward to in the Super XV next year.

YouTube credit:  BonstonkersTigers

Additional reporting - © AFP, 2013

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