Leeds Tykes have confirmed the signing of New Zealand scrum half Justin Marshall for the 2005-2006 season. The third most capped All Black player of all-time, the 31-year-old is hoping to end his Test career on a high by helping Graham Henry's side beat the British & Irish Lions.
Currently New Zealand's most capped back with 77 appearances, Marshall made his debut in 1995 and played in the 1999 and 2003 World Cup campaigns. He has scored 24 test tries.
He also captained New Zealand on their 1997 tour of Britain and was part of the team which won the Tri Nations in 1999, 2000 and 2003. Marshall also has won four Super 12 titles with Canterbury Crusaders.
"Justin is a world class player who will add greatly to the group of players already assembled with his professionalism both on and off the field. We are excited about Justin joining us and wish him all the best for the remainder of his time in New Zealand," said Leeds Tykes director of rugby Phil Davies.
For his part, Marshall says he is incredibly grateful for the opportunities he has enjoyed through Canterbury, Crusaders and All Blacks rugby.
"When I look back over the last 10 years of my playing career in New Zealand I feel incredibly satisfied at all I have experienced and achieved.
As a kid my dream was to one day wear the All Black jersey and to have been fortunate enough to wear the number nine jersey throughout the last 10 years has certainly been an honour and given me memories I will never forget," said Marshall.
Canterbury. Leeds will present new challenges and it's exciting to have the opportunity to set new goals, and compete in a different competition. Marshall will play for the Crusaders for his and the franchise's 10th season in 2005 and will be available for the selection in the All Blacks for the British and Irish Lions Series.
However Marshall will have to watch from the sidelines as his new side set about to win the European shield this season.
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.