Marshall to return to NRL

Benji Marshall (Getty Images)
Benji Marshall (Getty Images)

Aucklan - Benji Marshall's brief rugby union foray is set to end after only one Super Rugby start with the former New Zealand rugby league skipper in talks to end his Blues contract and return to the 13-man code.

Marshall only agreed a two-year contract with the Blues in August in a bid to play for the All Blacks at next year's rugby World Cup but he has struggled for game time under head coach John Kirwan, playing just 212 minutes this season.

"The Blues and New Zealand Rugby can confirm they have received a request from Benji Marshall to be released early from his contract," the three times Super Rugby champions said in a statement on Monday.

"All parties are currently in discussions regarding this request and need to work through a formal process before making any further comment."

Marshall, 29, did not take part in training with the Blues on Monday as they prepare for Friday's clash against the Waratahs, New Zealand media reported.

He came on as a replacement in the Blues' 39-20 defeat by the Hurricanes on Friday, slotting a penalty and conversion in what is expected to be his last appearance in the 15-man code.

"It just hasn't worked out, it is disappointing," Marshall's agent Martin Tauber told News Corp on Monday.

"He's not had the game time he'd like. This has all happened over the last 36 hours."

Kirwan said he had spoken with Marshall and praised the utility back, who had also hoped to play for the New Zealand Sevens team at the 2016 Olympics.

"Yeah, look we've had a conversation and we've spoken about where we're at, we've had an honest conversation," the former All Black winger told New Zealand's ONE News.

"We're processing that stuff now, it's frustrating.

"He's an incredibly good team man, a very honest man, we've having honest discussions and moving forward."

Marshall had been linked with a move to England with Salford in the 13-man league code but Tauber ruled that out for the exciting playmaker, who won an NRL title with the Wests Tigers in 2005 and the 2008 Rugby League World Cup for New Zealand.

"It might be Queensland or it might be New South Wales, it depends who is interested in him," Tauber said, adding he hadn't spoken to any potential suitors yet.

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