Paul Miller Article

Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by neck, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. neck

    neck Guest

    A New Zealand Under 16 representative in 1993, Secondary Schools representative (from Kings High School) in 1995 and a New Zealand Colt in 1997 (when he acquired his nickname "Ogre") the burly 120kg, 1.92m Paul Miller was always going to make an impression. Outside of rugby he represented Southland age group teams at national championship level in cricket, athletics and tennis.

    A No. 8, Miller represented Otago Colts in 1996 and was in the Otago A squad without making an appearance in 1997. Back in his native Southland in 1998 he played 12 games for the Union, was considered their best forward and was chosen by the Rugby Almanack as one of their Five Promising Players for the season. He was just as impressive in 1999, then moved back to Otago in 2000.

    Miller’s Super 12 debut came in 2000, for the Highlanders, though All Black Taine Randell was preferred when available but his NPC season ended after just the fifth round. Not wanted for the 2001 Super 12 he came back with a strong season for Otago and was rewarded with selection for the All Blacks’ end of season tour to Ireland, Scotland and Argentina, the first coached by John Mitchell.

    The Rugby Almanack commented that "His strength and skills meant he invariably crossed the advantage line and his selection for the All Blacks was no surprise". On tour he played the two midweek matches, against Ireland 'A' and Scotland 'A', scoring a try against the former, with Canterbury’s Scott Robertson preferred for the tests. He also made an appearance for the U K Barbarians, as did Simon Maling from the All Black tour party.

    After his All Black involvement in 2001 the following season was a disappointing one for Paul Miller. Told by coach Laurie Mains to go away and get fit he found the consistent Kevin Middleton the preferred Highlanders' No. 8 during the Super 12 and after two appearances for Otago, the second as a substitute, Miller returned on loan to Southland for the NPC but was not the force expected.

    Not required by the Highlanders he was drafted to the Chiefs for the 2003 Super 12 but after starting the first match was superseded by the impressive Steven Bates. His NPC form for Southland was also somewhat disappointing.

    If 2002-03 had been indifferent years for Miller 2004 and 2005 saw him playing consistently well. He did not appear in the 2004 Super 12 but his form that year for Southland, for whom he was the leading try scorer, was such that the Rugby Almanack felt he "must have been seriously looked at for the end of year All Black tour".

    Back in the Highlanders in 2005 he again showed good form and was one of Southland's most influential players in the NPC, with a good work rate, the ability to slip a pass to a supporting player and consistently getting over the advantage line. The calf strain that forced him off the field during Southland's 16-26 loss to the British and Irish Lions may well have cost Southland victory.

    Miller left New Zealand to play in Japan at the end of the 2005 season, possibly feeling that he never fulfilled his undoubted potential. Injuries, questionable fitness in some seasons and giving away rather too many penalties counted against him and much of his rugby was played for struggling Highlanders and Southland teams.

    To his credit he worked through all those issues and when he left New Zealand it was as an experienced, respected and whole hearted performer.

    His father Harold "Hori" represented Southland 1963-68,71-72 and was a member of the Southland team that beat the 1966 Lions 14-8. His brother Wayne played for Southland 1991-94, including their match against the 1993 Lions and another brother appeared for New Zealand Combined Services.

    Profile by Lindsay Knight
    for the New Zealand Rugby Museum.




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    FULL NAME
    Paul Charles Miller

    BORN
    Wednesday, 31 August 1977 in Gore

    AGE
    28

    PHYSICAL
    1.92m, 120kg

    POSITION
    Number eight

    LAST SCHOOL
    King's High

    RUGBY CLUB
    (First made All Blacks from)
    Dunedin Pirates

    PROVINCE
    Otago

    SUPER 12 TEAM
    Highlanders

    RUGBY NICKNAME
    Ogre

    ALL BLACK DEBUT
    Tuesday, 13 November 2001
    v Ireland 'A' at Belfast
    aged 24 years, 74 days

    ALL BLACK TESTS
    0 (0 as Captain)

    ALL BLACK GAMES
    2 (0 as Captain)

    TOTAL ALL BLACK MATCHES
    2 (0 as Captain)

    ALL BLACK GAME POINTS
    5pts (1t, 0c, 0p, 0dg, 0m)

    TOTAL ALL BLACK POINTS
    5pts (1t, 0c, 0p, 0dg, 0m)

    ALL BLACK NUMBER
    1009
     
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