For a young player coming through and trying to show his full potential on the big stage, Luke Marshall believes Ulster is a good place to be in.
The young Ballymena centre has always had a cutting edge to his game and his progression in recent years has been notable.
The window of opportunity came at the opening of the new Lansdowne Road – the Aviva Stadium – three seasons ago when combined Province teams at underage level contested a game.
Marshall was among a number of players – Paddy Jackson and Craig Gilroy were two others interestingly enough – who caught the eye on the day. The progress of all three has spiralled since not just with their Province but in the green shirt as well.
Marshall was a member of the Ireland team which crushed Fiji in a non-cap game during the November Tests and with the Irish midfield now starting to age considerably, further opportunities were expected for the Ulster youngster.
It does appear that Ireland are now starting to fast track their young talent.
For Marshall however, it is about getting things right with Ulster and he gets another opportunity tonight when the PRO12 league leaders face Zebre at Ravenhill and a regular starting spot in the number 12 shirt.
Marshall started at 13 last week in the loss to the Ospreys, but he prefers the inside role and that would be where most onlookers would see him as his strongest as well.
A broken finger last month saw Marshall’s chances of Six Nations involvement gone but he will certainly be expecting to be included in the summer tour squad.
That is a bit down the line and Marshall is keen to make his mark with Ulster.
Jokingly he says he has to get the 12 shirt of the ‘old man’ Paddy Wallace first in Ulster before.
“If I am playing well for Ulster maybe other things will happen. Paddy is playing good rugby and he is certainly unlucky not to be involved with Ireland.
“I have a hard enough task on my hands trying to get the Ulster shirt of him so hopefully this will be a good time for me to strike and put my hands up for it.
“I have to keep playing well.”