Benji Marshall could play in the NPC - agent

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 08:21 03/07/2013
Benji Marshall
Getty Images
SET TO SWITCH? Benji Marshall is said to be unhappy in rugby league and considering a switch to rugby union.

Relevant offers

Rugby

Injury-ravaged Blues opt for Rieko Ioane at centre for season-opener against Melbourne Rebels Irish rugby now set to benefit from coach Keane's deep well of knowledge Agonising irony in former Wallabies lock Dan Vickerman's death Young gun Finlay Christie surprised that potential Chiefs chance has come so fast How All Blacks great Ma'a Nonu helped Quade Cooper get back in the game Super Rugby preview: Dave Rennie and Aaron Cruden look for one last hurrah at Chiefs' helm Chiefs assistant coach Kieran Keane joins Irish club Connacht, replacing Pat Lam All Blacks captain Kieran Read opens up to Andy Ellis about his gardening passion Is the black dog the elephant in the room for rugby union and rugby league? Dan Vickerman confided about transition difficulties after retiring from rugby

Benji Marshall's potential switch to rugby union could happen quickly enough to see him playing in the NPC this year.

Marshall's manager says his star client is genuine about a move to rugby and isn't using that to ramp up his rugby league deal with Wests Tigers.

Marshall is being courted by the Blues, with Fairfax Media revealing that coach Sir John Kirwan had sounded out the player's management about switching codes.

Marshall's manager Martin Tauber said the switch was a very real possibility and could even happen early enough to see him play NPC.

"I have had conversations with John (Kirwan, about that) and I'm waiting for John to come back from South Africa so we can progress the chat," Tauber told Radio Sport today.

Auckland are in the market for a first-five with Gareth Anscombe set for shoulder surgery once the Super Rugby season ends.

That would be invaluable for tuning Marshall's game ahead of next year's Super Rugby championship.

Marshall has given no indication to the Kiwis about playing in this year's Rugby League World Cup which intensifies speculation about his future.

Tauber said people shouldn't doubt Marshall's motives.

"Any move to rugby would be because of genuine, genuine interest," he said.

Tauber said Marshall's arrangement with the Tigers was that when the new media deal was done with the NRL there would be an upgrade to his contract.

"We have already had those discussions with the Wests Tigers and basically they have said if we don't reach agreement and he wants a new challenge, they would release him.

"He has loved playing with Wests Tigers, we have had another re-graded offer last Friday that we will consider in the next couple of weeks."

Tauber confirmed that was the Tigers best offer under salary cup restraints. But he also said Marshall was prepared to take a pay cut to play rugby union.

Tauber said third-party arrangements could significantly supplement any deal as they do with his league arrangement.

"We have spoken to a number of his sponsors who have business interests in New Zealand and they are standing by him," he said.

Asked why Marshall would consider switching codes at this late stage in his career, Tauber said: "Because he has always played the game and had an interest and maybe it's time for a change, time for a new challenge, time for something exciting and different.

"He's going away next week for a break to think about his future."

Ad Feedback

Marshall was in a New Zealand under-16s rugby squad before deciding his future lay in league.

He has strong family and friendship links in New Zealand which would help his transition.

One of those friends is Piri Weepu, the Blues and All Blacks halfback and that could blossom to a partnership at the Super Rugby franchise.

While Marshall has also been linked to an offer from the Waratahs, Tauber said the lure of the Olympics sevens was an added incentive to make a rugby move to New Zealand.

"No question (about that)," he said.

"To represent your country in any sport is such an accolade. I don't think there's a better touch of sevens player in this market.

"It's the desire to play for his country (that would bring him back to New Zealand). He has always said he would never play for another country."

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content