Ulster star in fitness fight for Cup semi

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Edinburgh Rugby’s hopes of reaching a first Heineken European Cup final later this month have received a boost with the news that Ulster opponent Paul Marshall is facing a fitness battle.

Scrum half Marshall, 26, scored a try when Edinburgh were beaten 38-16 in Belfast last month in the Pro 12.

And he was instrumental in sending the Scots plunging to a 20-42 Murrayfield loss at the beginning of this year with a substitute appearance sufficient to earn him man-of-the-match honours.

Marshall was injured during Ulster’s recent defeat by Connacht in Galway and following x-rays it is expected to be known today whether he has broken an arm.

A major worry is that Marshall has suffered an identical injury to one he sustained earlier in his career and if he is ruled out the likely replacement is rookie Ian Porter who has made only four appearances from off the bench for Ulster this season totalling 83 minutes and none since December.

Before the semi-final on Saturday week Edinburgh must travel to Cardiff on Sunday in the league and will be looking to develop some momentum.

Here the Welshmen have problems after sustaining a fifth consecutive defeat in all competitions including their last two outings at home.

Cardiff’s interanational second row Bradley Davies admits times are hard, saying: “We have been embarrassed by how we have played during the last couple of weeks. We have created an environment which is not good enough.

“We’re letting ourselves down.”