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Marshall's Ulster motivation: 'I don't want to be on the team that loses first'

A trip to second-placed Scarlets kicks off a tough five-game swing for the Pro12 leaders.

Paul Marshall celebrates an Ulster victory.
Paul Marshall celebrates an Ulster victory.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

PAUL MARSHALL IS happy to be ‘back on the Ulster wavelength’ after a supporting spell with Ireland.

The scrum-half was released, along with Andrew Trimble, by Declan Kidney in time to feature in the 16-15 win over Benetton Treviso last Friday.

He was a second-half replacement for Conor Murray against Fiji at Thomond Park but had to look on as younger provincial teammates were given international chances that they duly took.

Marshall told TheScore.ie, “Like anybody, you want to play.

“I wasn’t expecting to be involved in the South Africa game. Eoin was due to start against Fiji but he got injured so I was drafted in.

“At the moment I know that I’m sitting at number three [choice] but I’m hoping to progress. To do that I have to play well and do that consistently each week.”

Impressive run

Ulster came away from their two November trips to Italy with eight points, extending their Pro12 lead in the process.

Marshall admits the side were ‘under-par’ in the victories over Zebre and Treviso but pays credit to the squad players that pushed the team’s unbeaten run to 11 games.

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“Nigel Brady and Roger Wilson have stepped up to lead the side while Peter Nelson has had a couple of good games and Niall O’Connor has done a job for us,” Marshall said. “He has kicked very well and shown good decision-making.”

The fixture list has pitted them against second placed Scarlets at an opportune time as George North, Jonathan Davies and seven other Welsh players are in line to face Australia on Saturday.

Marshall watched Scarlets’ 13-6 win over Munster at the weekend and notes the stingy defence of Simon Easterby’s side.

He also revealed his motivation ahead of Sunday’s clash at Parc y Scarlets. Marshall said:

The unbeaten run is not talked about that much in the squad. I know, from my point of view, I don’t want to be on the team that loses first.

“We’re enjoying winning and singing our songs in the dressing room after the game.”

Whether or not that song will be Paddy Jackson’s lip-sync favourite, JCB, Marshall would not confirm.

“He has no fear, that lad,” Marshall remarked.

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