An ex-All Black turning out for the Wakatipu Premiers last Saturday copped some criticism from close to home.
Queenstown-based 81-Test veteran and halfback Justin Marshall copped grief from his 10-year-old when he fluffed a try-saving tackle.
The former star, playing his first rugby game for Wakatipu, was stepped by a Maniototo opponent and lay prostrate by the touchline after failing to grab his opponent’s shorts.
Marshall, 39, says his son Lachlan – a ball boy along with his brother Fletcher, 8 – was standing right there.
“He looked straight down at me and I looked up and he said, ‘You should have made that tackle, Dad’.”
Fortunately for Marshall and the large Queenstown crowd, he and his teammates rallied from 17-3 down at halftime to beat Maniototo, which was bolstered by All Black front-rowers Andrew Hore and Tony Woodcock.
The victory sees Wakatipu retain the White Horse Cup in its second challenge this season – the cup is considered the Central Otago version of the Ranfurly Shield.
“We were aware they had super-stars coming,” Marshall says.
“But I think the pride the Wakatipu boys have in what they achieved last year, they weren’t prepared to let it go without really fighting hard.
“The forward pack played 50 times better in the second half, everybody just really stepped up a level or two.
“It’s a long time since I felt that proud in a rugby game, to be honest.
“It’s just nice to get back involved in a good passionate club who have some real drive and passion to do well. That cup means a lot,” Marshall says.
“I got a huge amount of satisfaction and felt bloody proud of what we achieved in that game, as much as I did in winning any Super titles or anything.”
Marshall says he also enjoyed the post-match festivities as much as the game.
Super 15 rugby commentary commitments mean he won’t be available for the next few games – “but if my schedule allows it, I’ll certainly pull the jersey on again”.
Marshall, helping to coach Wakatipu’s backs, says it’s nice his sons were present, despite flak from his eldest.
“Hopefully one day those two will get out and play for Wakatipu and I could say that I did the same.”