Australia eye Marshall

The Australian Rugby Union admit there is interest to keep Benji Marshall Down Under. [more]

Australia eye Marshall

The Australian Rugby Union admit there is interest to keep Benji Marshall Down Under.

The rugby league sensation has quit NRL side West Tigers in a bid to cross code, with the Blues favourites to bring the New Zealand captain home.

But ARU chief Bill Pulver wants the mercurial play-maker to remain in Australia.

"Benji's an intriguing prospect, who seems to have made it clear he's leaving rugby league," said Pulver.

"He's looking at options in Australia and New Zealand so, yeah, there's some interest there.

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"I know there's some dialogue in both Australia and New Zealand but I have no new news in terms of where those discussions are."

Marshall’s future is likely to hinge on his ambitions to play international union but his manager has indicated he has no desire to play for the Wallabies.

If he wants to represent his native All Blacks then he would have to play Super Rugby in New Zealand, if not interested parties NSW Waratahs and ACT Brumbies could come in.

But the ARU would not top up Marshall’s salary as they would with international players.

"The ARU would only put money into a player like Benji if he was doing something at a national level," added Pulver.

"He's eligible, but would he play?"

Meanwhile Pulver is thrilled with the news that another league convert, Israel Folau, is on the verge of signing a new two-year deal with the ARU.

“I'm delighted to see all the positive speculation this morning and I am conscious of dialogue going on but I have not seen a signed contract,” added Pulver.

“I have been waiting for weeks so I'm hoping it's imminent, but it's not done."

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