23 Oct 2008

Marshall ready to make up for lost time

7:19 am on 23 October 2008

The Kiwi league team's star back Benji Marshall has declared himself in the best shape of his career heading into Sunday's World Cup opener against Australia.

The 23-year-old stand-off, whose career has been fraught with injury, says the World Cup has been in the back of his mind for probably the last five years, and he's been training hard for the tournament in the six weeks since Wests Tigers' National Rugby League season ended.

Marshall will partner the Wigan playmaker Thomas Leuluai in the halves.

The rookier Melbourne forward Sika Manu has won a place in the starting side as part of a powerful back row along with Simon Mannering and Jeremy Smith.