Super Rugby
Benji Marshall accepts he's not ready to wear No.10
February 21, 2014
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Benji Marshall accepts he's not ready to wear the No.10 jersey, and is happy for the time being to be on the Blues bench.

The former New Zealand rugby league captain and Wests Tigers halfback will cover fly-half and fullback having been named on the bench for the Blues' Super Rugby opener against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday night. Chris Noakes, who has made a good recovery from off-season neck surgery, has been given the No.10 jersey against his former side. The Blues' other playmaking option, Baden Kerr, is sidelined with a hand injury.

Marshall played mainly at five-eighth during the Blues' pre-season trials, but he says he was happy with only one of his three performances.

"I've learnt something new in every trial but I've still got a lot to learn," Marshall said. "As much as I would love to start, I don't feel like I'm the best person for the job at the moment."

Marshall still sees himself as a first-five long-term, and he says the challenge for him is to understand the role better so he doesn't have to keep thinking about it and can just go out and play.

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Marshall, 28, played rugby as a teenager before spending 11 seasons with the Tigers in Sydney, and he thought when he decided to make the switch from the National Rugby League that he would find a lot of similarities between the codes; that hasn't been the case, he said.

"It's just about being honest. I'm not ready for 10 at Super Rugby level yet. When I am, and if I'm the best person for that position, I'll be there, but for now I'm not."

Blues coach John Kirwan is confident Marshall will do the job required when he takes the field.

"I wouldn't put him on the bench if I didn't think he could add to the football team," Kirwan said. "I'm confident that he's ready to go, but just not quite ready to start."

Blues: Charles Piutau; Frank Halai, Jackson Willison, Francis Saili, George Moala; Chris Noakes, Piri Weepu; Peter Saili, Luke Braid (captain), Steven Luatua; Tom Donnelly, Liaki Moli; Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Ofa Tu'ungafasi. Replacements: Tom McCartney, Sam Prattley, Angus Ta'avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Brendan O'Connor, Bryn Hall, Benji Marshall, Tevita Li.

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