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Marshall thrilled as he signs up for player/coach Instonians deal



Paul Marshall

Paul Marshall

�INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Paul Marshall

Former Ulster player Paul Marshall has hailed his move to junior club Instonians as providing the ideal opportunity to continue his involvement in the game.

The 32-year-old has been unveiled by Instonians as player/coach for next season just days after he took his final leave of Kingspan Stadium following a 12-year career in the professional game, which saw him tog out 206 times for his province.

It represents quite a coup for the Shaws Bridge club and also provides Marshall with immediate access to coaching, an area of interest for him when the playing comes to an end.

Instonians, though, also look sure to greatly benefit from his insight and ability to still deliver on the field.

The ambitious club's bid to regain senior status fell short in the recent AIL round-robins in the wake of them winning Division One of the Kukri Ulster Rugby Championship.

Marshall will play and look after the club's backline when the new season kicks-off and will work alongside fellow coach John Andress, who is staying on, while Roger Wilson departs to the United States.

"It will be the start of the next chapter for me moving on from Ulster and there is a great opportunity for me to do a bit of coaching as well," Marshall stated.

The three-time capped Ireland international played his final game for Ulster, in what was a disrupted season, when he came off the bench in last month's draw at Munster and was not involved in Sunday's Champions Cup play-off win over the Ospreys.

"It's good to be able to play as well and bring some positive influences on the pitch and off the pitch.

"It will be a really good opportunity for me to start coaching and try to bring a bit of knowledge I have of the game to the guys, but especially the backline at Instonians," he added.

Marshall follows Wilson and Ricky Lutton - who is with Ballyclare - after the two forwards stepped away from the professional game with Ulster to experience life in the junior ranks.

Former Methody pupil Marshall is eager to meet the challenge.

"It will also be a really good learning curve for me and hopefully I'll learn plenty as I embark on to the next stage of things," he said.

Belfast Telegraph