Guinness PRO12: Ben Marshall joins Connacht from Leinster

Versatile forward to move from Dublin to Galway after involvement with Emerging Ireland this summer

Ben Marshall has joined Connacht from interprovincial rivals Leinster for the 2015/16 season.

The ambition excites me and I can’t wait to get started and to add to the mix. They have a good selection of second rows already, but I look forward to putting my hand up for selection.

Ben Marshall

The 24-year-old lock, who can also play in the back row, made 10 of his 20 appearances for Leinster this season, including a replacement role in the European Champions Cup semi-final against Toulon.

His emergence in the senior Leinster side following his graduation from the province’s academy and A side has led to him being named as a replacement for the Ireland side to face the Barbarians on Thursday night in Limerick and named in the Emerging Ireland squad to compete at the Tblisi Cup this summer.

“The opportunity to join Connacht is one that I am very much looking forward to,” Marshall said.

“The ambition excites me and I can’t wait to get started and to add to the mix.

“They have a good selection of second rows already, but I look forward to putting my hand up for selection.

“I played in the Sportsground a few years back and it’s not unlike the RDS Arena in many ways.

“The supporters are right on the pitch and it makes for a brilliant atmosphere. I’m looking forward to running out there and having them with me for a change.”

Conncaht narrowly missed out on qualification for the European Champions Cup next season after a 40-32 defeat to Gloucester in a play-off match last Sunday, but have made huge strides this season, finishing seventh in the Guinness PRO12 and reaching the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup.

I have no doubt that he will fit in well within our culture and make the most of the opportunity to continue his growth and compete for a starting spot up front.

Pat Lam

Marshall’s move to Galway comes days after forwards Dave Heffernan and Danny Qualter, scrum-half John Cooney and versatile back Shane O’Leary all agreed one-year deals with the Irish Rugby Football Union.

Connacht have had 18 players commit to the province for next season, Marshall becoming the third player to join from Leinster along with Cooney and lock Quinn Roux, who spent the 2014-15 season on loan from Leinster.

Lam said: “It’s great to have someone with Ben’s versatility joining our squad next season.

“He is a young player whose talent has already been recognised internationally as highlighted by his inclusion in the Ireland squad for this week’s game against the Barbarians and also the Emerging Ireland squad.

“I have no doubt that he will fit in well within our culture and make the most of the opportunity to continue his growth and compete for a starting spot up front.”

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