Players in the News

Jason Marshall Hits the World Stage Again: This Time in the World Rowing Indoor Championships

Jason Marshall is hitting the news but in a different sport, the World Rowing Indoor Championships. He’s one of 10 athletes to compete at the Versa Challenge in February. The article below from World Rowing gives the details but we went through our database as well to scan through his rugby history.

He was capped 31 times for Canada, his first test against Scotland in November 2008 and his last cap in September 2015 against Fiji. He played tighthead prop.

He shows in our database in 2009 playing for Capilano. In 2009, we polled readers for a BC Premier all-star team and he was the selection at tighthead prop but also was highly rated at #8.

1 Andrew Tiederman – UVic
2 Mike Pletch – Velox
3 Jason Marshall – Capilano
4 Bruce Railde – Bayside
5 Eric Forsythe – JBAA
6 Dave Biddle – Meralomas
7 Neil Meechan – Uvic
8 Nolan Ott – Velox
9 Spencer Dalziel – JBAA
10 Harry Jones – UBC
11 Spencer Baker – Caps
12 Dan White – Velox
13 Sam Jenkins – Meralomas
14 Brodie Henderson – Bayside
15 DTH van der Merwe – JBAA

In August 2009 BC were preparing to play Ontario and had a Probable v Possibles match for selection and Marshall played blindside flanker for the Possibles. Marshall was in the Reserves for BC in that famous win over Russia in 2009 at Bear Mountain Stadium (now Starlight Stadium).


1 Hanmer Rhodri
2 Riordan Pat
3 Daniel Nick
4 Cudmore Luke
5 Erichsen Brian
6 Johnson Ben
7 Meechan Neil
8 McKinnon Glen
9 Fairhurst Ed
10 Hirayama Nathan
11 Nicholson Brock
12 Panga Clay
13 Jenkins Sam
14 Townsend Derek
15 Jones Harry


1 Down Rob
2 Hamilton Ryan
3 Houlihan Peter
4 Burak Mike
5 Mackay Mike
6 Marshall Jason
7 Van Staveren Adam
8 McKenzie Colin
9 White Sean
10 Jones Charlie
11 Mercier Shawn
12 Prochine Andrei
13 Sigarua Ismeli
14 Okech Michael
15 Buckley Matt

In 2010 he was playing for James Bay along with national team players Taylor Paris, Connor Braid and Sean White. In 2013 we did a check on Canadians playing overseas and Marshall was in La Rochelle. According to Wiki he was in Aurillac from 2011 to 2013, La Rochelle 2013-14, in Hawkes Bay NZ in 2014.

2013 Canadian Players Overseas

Hubert Buydens – Manawatu

English Premier
Jebb Sinclair – London Irish
Phil Mackenzie – Sale

Pro 12
Tyler Ardron – Ospreys
Jeff Hassler – Ospreys
DTH van der Merwe – Glasgow

RFU Championship
Aaron Carpenter – Cornish Pirates
Matt Evans – Cornish Pirates
Sean-Michael Stephens – Plymouth Albion
Brett Beukeboom – Plymouth Albion
James Pritchard – Bedford
Tyler Hotson – London Scottish

French Top 14
Jamie Cudmore – Clermont

French D2
Taylor Paris – Agen
Jason Marshall – La Rochelle
Cam Pierce – Pau

French Federale 1
Jon Phelan – Lille

By 2015 he was in Agen with Taylor Paris. Marshall suffered a string of injuries late in his rugby career, first a knee injury, then a rib cartlage injury that kept him out of the 2015 Rugby World Cup squad.

Now 7 years later at 37 he’s hitting the headlines again on the world stage.

from World Rowing By Alan Oldham

This story was originally posted on the 2023 World Rowing Indoor Championships website.

When the 10 male athletes face off at the World Rowing Indoor Championships first ever Versa Challenge in February, Canadian Jason Marshall is hoping to show the world he is up to the challenge.

His resume is a little different than many athletes competing in Mississauga which could set him up well for what’s to come.

The Versa Challenge is expected to be a fan favourite with five events over the two days of the championships and athletes only learning about them in some cases just moments before. It is expected to be a test of speed, strength, and endurance among other things.

Growing up in British Columbia on Canada’s west coast, Marshall and his younger brother found their love for sport came naturally.

“I had a younger brother (about a year and a half younger) and we were known around town as the ‘pitbull brothers,’” he says. “We had too much energy. We played pretty much every sport growing up.”

When he went to BC’s Simon Fraser University, Marshall had aspirations of playing professional football. He was the quarterback at Simon Fraser and had a tryout with the Canadian Football League team in Edmonton after he graduated.

When that didn’t pan out, Marshall was invited to try out for Canada’s National Rugby Team. That’s where he was first introduced to indoor rowing. But it was far from love at first sight. “My very first time on a rowing machine was actually with the Canadian National Team,” Marshall remembers. “We were doing fitness challenges. One of the challenges was a 500 metre row. I didn’t touch it for three years after that. Then I was in France playing professional rugby. We were doing a spin bike workout and there weren’t enough bikes, so the coach said for a few of us to jump on the rower. I hated it.”

A year later, dogged by injury from playing rugby, the rowing machine become an essential training tool in Marshall’s recovery. But rowing, he soon discovered was not just for rehabilitation. New Zealand takes its sports seriously, especially rugby and rowing. So, when Marshall made the move to play professional rugby in New Zealand, he was surprised at one core element of the training. “The coach was a huge advocate of using rowing in the fitness regime,” he says. “There were benchmarks to hit and workouts to do. That was my first real taste of it.”

It wasn’t long before he started seeing improvements in his fitness for rugby and rowing. Marshall wasn’t just hitting those rowing benchmarks, he was smashing them. “I realized I was pretty decent at it,” he says. “One of the tests was 2k [2000 metres, rowing’s standard distance]. I think I rowed a 6:24. I was the fastest on the team, but that was my first attempt. I didn’t know how to pace it.”

Marshall ended up having quite the career in rugby. He played 31 rugby test matches for Canada and suited up for Canada in all four games at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. He also played parts of five seasons of pro rugby in France.

While indoor rowing became part of his rugby routine, it was only a few years ago while working as a firefighter in Port Coquitlam, BC, his passion for indoor rowing really ignited.

“I was at the firehall gym with another firefighter after work,” remembers Marshall. “He bet me I couldn’t do a 1k [1000 metres on the indoor rowing machine] under 3 minutes. I got on and I did it.”

That was the turning point that got him into the sport. “I began to do some research and realized there was a whole competitive community out there.”

“With rowing I have definitely hit a number of benchmarks that are out there,” he says. “I was lucky that there were a few people who reached out to me. A month or two after the bet at work, I realized that sub 6 minutes for 2k was actually a pretty good time.”

With this goal in mind, Marshall’s training took off. “I didn’t realize how difficult that was going to be, but for whatever reason I think rugby just prepared me for the physical battles and mental pain that come with it.”

When he got his time below 6 minutes for 2000 metres, he set a new goal and achieved what is still today his personal best. “My fastest 2k is 5:49,” he says. “That was my goal, get it under 5:50.”

As for the upcoming World Rowing Indoor Championships, “I want to be as competitive as possible,” says Marshall. “I’m looking at it as my last push to do something. The field is pretty strong from the guys who have qualified, but I think if I am in my top shape, I have potential to be near the top. Joel is the man to watch and I’m hoping to be competitive,” he says referring to one of his main competitors, Finland’s Joel Naukkarinen, who won a bronze medal at the 2022 World Rowing Indoor Championships.

“I’m looking forward to the event,” Marshall adds.

Along with 10 men, 10 top women from around the world have also qualified for the exclusive Versa Challenge led by Kirsten Kline of the US, the 2021 World Rowing Indoor Champion and Canada’s Sarah Pidgen who also races internationally as a coastal rower.

For the other in person events, however, registration is open to all. There are individual races over 500 metres and 2000 metres for ages 17 through 70 plus as well as team relays where competitors must switch every 250 metres. Anyone wishing to race in person can simply register online. There is even the chance to race virtually from anywhere in the world through a qualification process. Take up the challenge like Marshall and see if you can achieve a personal best and maybe reach the podium. Click here for more information.

Posted in Other News.