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Edinburgh v Ulster: Paul Marshall will shun the spotlight on his special night

By Michael Sadlier

After some discussion about the footage which has gone viral of Luke Fitzgerald attempting, and hilariously failing, to hit a tee shot in the presence of Rory McIlroy, the also notable matter of Paul Marshall's 150th Ulster appearance pops up on the agenda.

Marshall points out that what happened to Andrew Trimble when he became Ulster's most capped player - the winger ran out at the Kingspan Stadium on his own to a rapturous welcome on his 190th cap - isn't going to be something that the 30-year-old scrum-half intends to replicate.

And that's not simply because his moment will be at a virtually empty Murrayfield tonight, it's just that he doesn't really feel that it needs to be marked.

"I don't really want to go out first so I might say to Rob (Herring) 'you go out first and I'll follow,'" he said.

"Not until I get to break a record, like Trimby has done, will I consider going out alone.

"It's nice to be there and hopefully we can get a win and then it will be a memorable weekend."

And that's just it really. The team ethic is far more critical to any individual achievement and all Marshall wants to do is help Ulster secure a first away win this season by taking unbeaten Edinburgh down.

But it's never easy trying to produce your home form away from the Kingspan and Marshall explains just what needs to be done when the squad are also faced by the cavernous Murrayfield which will, as usual, be a sea of empty seats for a PRO12 game.

"You just have to get boys talking in the warm-up when you're doing drills," he said of trying to create a buzz within the squad when there is none to be had from the atmosphere.

"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.

"I'm a bit of a talker anyway and if a few other guys start to do that and there is a bit of a buzz around you can actually just create that from your own chat."

Last season's backs-to-the-wall win over Edinburgh is given an airing and though Marshall stresses that Alan Solomons' side are now much stronger, he does liken the victory by a 13-man Ulster as key to building squad character.

"Once we were down to 13 men we did well to hold out," the three-times capped Ireland international recalled.

"Looking at Australia against Wales, they had 13 men and were on their own line and held out. Sometimes that can galvanise a team because it brings out that bit extra and last year it brought out that extra bit of fight in us."

Hitting him with a statistic regarding Ulster's away record -one win on the road in the PRO12 since the corresponding fixture last February - and Marshall reacts in an appropriate manner.

"Our video analyst Niall Malone has a sign in his office saying 'The only stat that matters is the final score'," stated Marshall. "If our final score is right, the stats will look after themselves."

Fair point.

Belfast Telegraph


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