Luke Marshall wants Ulster to go to Italy and back up last performance

Ulster's Luke Marshall

Ulster's Luke Marshall

Centre Luke Marshall was pleased with his own performance barring a yellow card and the team’s as Ulster ran in seven tries to defeat Treviso at Ravenhill.

Ulster travel to Italy with a two point lead over Leicester at the top of Pool Five in the Heineken Cup.

“As a team performance it was reasonably complete, the forwards were impressive up front and we were clinical in the backs, there were a lot of good individual performances but only half the job is done,” said Marshall.

“It was nice to score two tries I think before this season I had only scored two in my whole career for Ulster so it was nice to double that tally in one night, there were two easy enough finishes and the backline had done most of the work Darren Jared and Paddy so it was nice to get on the end of a couple.”

Marshall believes assistant coach Neil Doak’s philosophy of free flowing rugby is paying off.

“I think Neil has had that influence for the last three or four seasons and over the last couple it is really starting to core to the fore and you’re really starting to see the backline developing, I think it helps the young guys coming through.”

“Paddy (Jackson) is now showing his experience from international level and using it for Ulster.”

After a 48-0 win last week Marshall knows Ulster must go out and back it up in Treviso on Saturday.

“It’s massively pleasing coming off the pitch having won 48-0 and you’re pleased with yourself, it’s a massive challenge on the Monday not to get ahead of yourself, the nature of the Heineken Cup the home and the away games are so different.”

“We could easily go out this week play under par and lose, Treviso are a good enough side to do that and they are the only team to beat Munster (Pro12) this year, it’s a big challenge for us to keep our feet on the ground, we’ll train well and take our form with us and put in another good performance in Italy.”

“There will be a few things happening that will inspire them, Italian teams are very proud and after last week they will be hurting, they are so passionate at home, it’s Franco Smith’s last game and they will want to give him a good send off,”

“They are going to be up for this game as they ever are we just have to bring the same intensity as we did last week and hopefully get the win.”

“We had the intensity for nearly the whole 80 minutes apart from maybe 10 where we dipped, from the first whistle they basically couldn’t live with us and that that is something we have to do again especially playing away, if we let them start well the crowd will get into the game and they will get their tails up and it will be a long day.”

Marshall feels Ulster have learnt their lesson from last season’s back to back games with Northampton.

“It’s something that is going to be in our mind, Mark said to us on Monday it’s a challenge to go out and back it up, we’ve probably not been able to do that in the past few seasons, we’ve put in big performances then dropped a level the next week.”

“Last year against Northampton it hurt or chances pretty badly in the Heineken Cup, we had a great win over there then lost the next week at home and that cost us our home quarter final, I think that will be fresh in some of the guys minds going into the weekend.”

With Leicester securing a bonus point win and with Ulster having a two point lead at the top of Pool Five Marshall admits six wins is the only way to guarantee a home quarter final.

“The way this group is going and with the way the Tigers are playing and to be honest I can’t see them not winning in France with the way they are going at the minute we are probably going to have to win all six.”

“We need to do the business in the next two games but it is looking that Welford in January is going to be the decider.”

Marshall is hoping more performances like last Saturday in the Ulster shirt can propel him into Joe Schmidt’s thoughts for the Six Nations.

“It’s in the back of my mind but at the minute the focus is primarily on Ulster form and the team’s form, I want to contribute as much as I can and if the my form is good and I’ll give Joe something to think about.”




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