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New Zealand captain Benji Marshall and coach Michael Maguire respond to rumours around star player's Kiwis future

Sporting News logo Sporting News 8/11/2019
Shaun Johnson, Benji Marshall, Ken Maumalo are posing for a picture © Getty Images

It's been one of the great stories in 2019 - but is Wests Tigers legend Benji Marshall's time in the New Zealand Kiwis jumper almost over once again?

Not according to the coach of both his club and country in Michael Maguire.

Ahead of the Kiwis clash with Great Britain on Saturday night, both skipper and coach spoke to the media about the potential of it being Marshall's last in the black jumper.

And while Marshall was exceptionally coy about his 2020 plans, Maguire believes this may not be the last we see of him on the international stage.

“If I know Benji the way I do, this might not be his last because he just keeps on going," he said.

Pictures: Kiwi Rugby League heroes of the last 30 years

"He just plays game-by-game, he is really enjoying being back in this space and he has a big influence on these young guys.

"He has a great story from what he experienced years ago by being away from this space, to coming back into it. The appreciation you get from wearing the Kiwis jersey – Benji epitomises that.

"Having people like him around is very important."

If the 34-year old is still playing good football for the Tigers in the 2020 NRL season, he is one of the first blokes on the team sheet for the Kiwis if he is still keen to play.

But Marshall - humble as always - could only talk about just how important each game for his country is. 

“I don’t know, I’m just playing this one like its my last like I always have done," he said.

"This week isn’t about me and whether or not its my last, it’s about what is best for the jumper. We have been focusing on the country and putting this jersey in a better place.

“It’s an honour for me to not only wear the black jumper again, but to be captain as well. It is something special not just for me but for my family as well, as a lot of people are with you through this journey.

"I’m still pinching myself that I am here and am loving it."

The game on Saturday between the Kiwis and Lions will kick off at 6pm from Christchurch Stadium.

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