Ulster’s Luke Marshall remains resolute amidst midfield injury woe

Ulster's Luke Marshall.
Ulster's Luke Marshall.
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Luke Marshall has been holding the Ulster midfield together while others around him succumb to injury.

The Irish centre has already had three partners in four games but he is just hoping to stay fit and continue his early season form which has yielded two tries.

“Stu’s (McCloskey) not done me any favours there and James (Hume) was very unlucky pulling his hamstring after making a line-break,” said Marshall.

“We haven’t been too lucky with centres’ fitness so I’m just trying to keep fit at the minute.

“They’re all good players, they make it pretty easy, Matt (Faddes) came off the bench on Friday and it was easy to fit in with him, he’s a smart rugby player and he makes my job easy as well.

“I feel like I have more to give, I just have to keep working hard and fit into how the team want me to play.”

Marshall has had his fair share of injuries in his career and sympathises with Hume’s plight.

“He’s been really unlucky, in his first year out of school he had a really bad foot injury and did well to come back from that,” he said.

“Then he had a really good season last year but coming into the business end he had another really bad injury.

“He got another nasty one on Friday, which is really unlucky given the way he’s been playing; he’s a good player and he’s a hard worker, he’ll get himself back fit and into the frame, and he’ll play a lot of games this season.”

Marshall is happy that Ulster are getting points on the table despite not performing to the best of their ability.

“It’s a positive we’re still winning, we have two bonus point wins. Look at the Kings, they’ve made it tough against other teams and we had a pretty good win against them, and Cardiff are a very good team traditionally, and they were good on Friday.

“It was frustrating we didn’t kick on, and we probably could have gotten a bonus point if we’d played to our full potential, but we’re still winning, and to know we’ve still got more in the tank is a positive.”

Ulster meet Zebre on Friday night at Kingspan Stadium and have scored 122 points in their last two home meetings with the Italians.

However, Marshall knows with their internationals back from the World Cup, the Parma-based side are a different animal and is focused on making sure Dan McFarland’s team win the game rather than worry about getting the bonus point.

“It’s just to get the win. For Leinster to only beat them 3-0 the way Leinster have been going - you look at what they did to Edinburgh and the Ospreys - they’ve been devastating this year and they really struggled over there,” he said.

“I think Zebre had 11 or 13 internationals in their squad, so they’ll come over here with a lot of quality and confidence after that performance. For us it’s just about putting a performance in and getting the win, that’s the target.”