Paul Marshall craves squad success as he prepares to earn 150th Ulster cap

Paul Marshall
Paul Marshall

Paul Marshall is not thinking about personal accolades as Ulster travel to Edinburgh on Friday night as the Guinness Pro12 returns.

The diminutive scrum half will make his 150th appearance in an Ulster shirt as Neil Doak’s men visit second placed Edinburgh.

Marshall said: “It’s obviously nice to hit different milestones and when you start out you don’t think you’ll get to that many.

“But it is nice to be there this weekend and hopefully we can get a win and it will be a memorable weekend.

“Dragons away in 2006 was my first game after I had played in one of the pre season friendlies the summer before and that was the first time I remember playing, it was against Rotherham. It’s been a long journey but and enjoyable one so far.

“Quite often I feel so nervous before games and I always end up like saying to the physio or the masseur how nervous I feel but it is probably not a bad thing that you still get nerves and you still get a good buzz when you get out there.

“It is a real privilege to play because I know there are so many other people would love to do it and in terms of appearance numbers it is something you will look back on when you’re finish and get real satisfaction looking back at what you achieved.”

Murrayfield holds just under 68,000 but Edinburgh’s average home crowds in the PRO12 is around 4,800.

“It’s always a strange one playing at Murrayfield because it is sure a big stadium and there is usual maybe, four, five or six thousand there so it is a bit different from our point of view.

“We have to bring our own atmosphere because it won’t be like playing at home and have the same feel to it so we need to make sure we bring our own atmosphere.

“You just have to get boys talking in the warm up when you’re doing drills, enthusiasm is infectious and if a few guys try to bring a bit of enthusiasm then quite often that will rub off on other people.”

Ulster’s only win on the road since February came in April at Connacht but Marshall believes it is not a physiological problem.

“At the tail end of the season we had some tough games like Glasgow away, as a squad I don’t think we are massively concerned in terms of thinking we’re playing away from home we are under massive pressure.

“You want to win every game home or away, maybe for us over the last well we haven’t started games away from home well.

“When you’re playing away from home you want to stick with or be points up on the team you’re playing to make it harder for them because you don’t want them to get to relaxed.”

“Thinking about the Scarlets game we gave away a few silly needless penalties early on and then we ended up being six to nine points down straight away and that puts you on the back foot so certainly this weekend we want to start well.

Ulster have won eight of their last nine meetings with Edinburgh.

“Our video analyst Niall Malone has a sign in his office saying the only stat that matters is the final score, if our final score is right the stats will look after themselves,” said Marshall.

“It is going to be tough they have improved massively over the last few years. Alan Solomons has got them playing more of a structured game than they played a few years ago.

“They are a physical side up front and in their backline now they are pretty confrontational so we have to make sure we match that or be better.”