Paul Marshall keen to press on in Pienaar’s absence

Paul Marshall dives over to score his second try
Paul Marshall dives over to score his second try

Opportunities have been limited for Paul Marshall lately but with Ruan Pienaar’s season in the balance he was determined to make the most of his start against Connacht and it couldn’t have gone much better as he scored two tries in a 58-12 rout.

“I haven’t started a game for a while now and I was itching to get a game,” said Marshall.

He added, with a smile, “I was blowing a bit at times and the first half was fast especially, which maybe I contributed to that a bit.

“We really had a chat as a squad and said last week is put behind us, we have to look forward to the next block of games and we want to achieve something this season.

“We have had a similar sort of squad together for two, three four years now and everyone knows each other well.

“We have come through a lot together and we want something to show at the end of the season and that has got to be our goal for the next few weeks to try and get a trophy in the cabinet.”

Marshall took the scenic route round the Connacht defence for his second try.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen when I got the ball.

“Sometimes you just keep running and thankfully I just made it. Sometimes those things come off and sometimes they don’t.

“From our point of view we wanted to play with a bit of pace and try to stretch Connacht.

“They came with the same intention to move the ball around.

“We started the second half well and got a few tries and take the sting out of them.

“It was great to finish off a second half there have been a few times we’ve had good first halves and haven’t kicked on in the second, that was pleasing and everybody contributed.

“Rugby comes down to physicality, accuracy and set piece. I thought or set piece was fantastic and the guys have worked tirelessly.

“If you have a good set piece guys are going to get over the gain line and stretch teams and we have a lot of fire power out behind, we have guys that can create bits of magic and we just need to get the right platform,” added Marshall.

Meanwhile, Ulster will know how long they will be without forward Robbie Diack later this week.

At a time when Ulster’s injury list is quite heavy, the news yesterday that Diack had not suffered a fracture to his left leg during the win over Connacht was welcomed.

However, he is still likely to miss this week’s crucial trip to Glasgow with ligament damage to his ankle.

Ulster Rugby said last night a further assessment would be made early in the week which would determine how long the player may be out.

Ulster are already without key players Rory Best, Ruan Pienaar, Roger Wilson, Dan Tuohy and John Afoa and the loss of Diack would be another blow, particularly given the fact the side face three crucial games against teams vying for the play-off spots.