Ulster scrum-half Paul Marshall believes he can capitalise on the injury to South Africa’s Ruan Pienaar and break into the Ireland set-up after impressive recent performances with his province.
Marshall has stepped into the breach with South Africa’s Pienaar sidelined with hamstring problem and excelled at half-back during Ulster’s Heineken Cup double header which included victory over Clermont and defeat to Leicester.
Pienaar is close to returning to fitness and could feature in Friday’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash in Glasgow – but Marshall remains confident he can do enough to prove he is worthy of a place in Declan Kidney’s squad.
"Certainly Ruan is a great player, the most high-profile player we've ever had at Ulster," said Marshall.
"There were times last year when he got us out of jail on a few occasions. But I know I need to take every opportunity, because I want to see myself playing for Ulster and I have ambitions beyond that as well.
"I want to play for Ireland and that should be every player's goal. If you look at the scrum-half position in Ireland now compared to three or four years ago, there's a lot more competition.
"I need to be selfish because I want to wear that green jersey as well, but I need to make sure I'm putting in performances for Ulster first and foremost.”