Lions beater to retire

Lions beater Justin Marshall could be set for his final game of professional rugby this weekend. [more]

Lions beater to retire

Lions beater Justin Marshall could be set for his final game of professional rugby this weekend.

The Saracens scrum-half has announced he will retire at the end of this season, meaning Sunday’s Guinness Premiership semi-final at Northampton Saints could be his last appearance. 

Marshall played a key role in New Zealand’s 2005 whitewash of the Lions, starting the first Test in Christchurch before coming on as a replacement for Byron Keheller in the second and third internationals. 

The 36-year-old is the All Blacks’ most-capped No9 with a total of 81 Test appearances. He scored 24 tries during that time and featured in two World Cups. 

After consistently starring for the Crusaders in his homeland, Marshall moved to the UK when he signed for Leeds in 2005. Spells with the Ospreys and Montpellier followed before Marshall joined Sarries 18 months ago. 

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"I have given a lot to the game over the past 17 seasons, but rugby has given me much, much more," said Marshall. 

"When I was 19, I was in danger of going off the rails, but I was given a chance to move to Christchurch and play for Canterbury. 

"Later that year, I was picked for the All Blacks and this incredible journey began. 

"I have been so fortunate to make so many friends in this game all around the world. It has never been dull, and I have to thank my wife Nicolle and my children for supporting me during this period. My career has made massive demands on them, and now we are all looking forward to going home to New Zealand and settling into something like a normal family life. 

"I just feel immensely grateful to all the talented players and coaches who have made my career so enjoyable and memorable." 

Marshall may soon be lost to the playing side of the game but he does intend to stay involved in the sport by starting a new television career with Sky Sports in New Zealand next month as well as continuing to work with Saracens.

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