Marshall Signs Up for a Cracking Encounter
19th February 2010, 7:38 pm By Principality Stadium
The Welsh Rugby Union will welcome All Blacks legend Justin Marshall as the Official Hospitality guest speaker at Wales’ next home game of the RBS 6 Nations Championship on Friday, 26 February (kick-off 8.00pm).
The news is a great incentive for WRU hospitality box holders and fans looking to get their hands on tickets to what the former New Zealand star believes will be a "cracking encounter" when current championship high-flyers France face Warren Gatland’s Wales at the Millennium Stadium.
"This is going to be the game of the round and an absolutely cracking encounter at the Millennium Stadium," said the Saracens half back who will entertain fans in possession of the hottest tickets in town available from £439 (plus vat) at Cardiff’s iconic city centre venue.
"Wales will have learnt the lessons from the games played so far against England and Scotland and realise that they don’t have to wait until they are behind on the scoreboard to perform and can be confident from the word go.
"Wales must take some encouragement from the way they played in the second half against Scotland. If they play their natural game I think that the campaign can be very positive for Wales."
The 88-times capped former All Black will be supporting the Welsh outfit from a VIP hospitality suite on level five of the Millennium Stadium, also used by the international coaching teams to install state-of-the art technical links that capture the live action and replays of every phase of play.
Marshall, the second most capped player in All Blacks history behind Sean Fitzpatrick, swapped South Wales for the South of France when he signed with Montpellier from the Ospreys for the 2008/09 season.
"France are playing very well and, as the big game between the two currently undefeated teams France and England is still to come, they will be at their very best," said Marshall.
"They will have elements of flamboyancy in their ranks but France now play a lot more structured rugby and this does not differ very much from the way other Northern Hemisphere teams play.
"Wales can take the courage shown against Scotland last week and have the confidence to perform from the outset against France."
Marshall played 49 games for the Welsh region that brought him to the hallowed turf of the Millennium Stadium three times, following his first outing to Cardiff with New Zealand when the gates opened for the illustrious 1999 IRB Rugby World Cup and again in 2001 for Wales’ Autumn Internationals.
"The Millennium Stadium is probably the best stadium I’ve played in anywhere in the world," he said. "And with the superb facilities at the all-weather venue, I am looking forward to the first championship Friday night fixture at the Millennium Stadium."
The former Ospreys scrum half has been impressed with the performances of former team-mates Adam Jones, Shane Williams and Lee Byrne on returning from injury for the 2010 championship.
"The contributions of Adam Jones, Shane Williams and Lee Byrne have been superb, as were each of their performances on the British & Irish Lions tour," he said.
He also pays tribute to Blues scrum half Richie Rees: "He has done very well for the Blues and from what I have seen he slots right into the way that Wales have been playing. He does not look out of his depth with the Wales squad and the personnel around him will only help him grow as an international player. "
Welsh fans can get Justin Marshall’s exclusive rugby insight and a VIP ticket to the RBS 6 Nations clash between Wales and France from £439 (per person, plus vat) at www.millenniumstadium.com.
WRU Official Hospitality lounge tickets are seated in a VIP area and include an official event programme and a limited edition gift, a fully-stocked bar, a three-course meal and guest speaker and All Black legend Justin Marshall.