Versatile Alison Miller finally fulfilling her potential

Try against New Zealand the career highlight to date for talented Irish winger who now has England in her sights

Ireland’s Alison Miller runs in for a try against New Zealand during the Pool B clash at the FFR Headquarters, Marcoussis, Paris. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland’s Alison Miller runs in for a try against New Zealand during the Pool B clash at the FFR Headquarters, Marcoussis, Paris. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Wed, Aug 13, 2014, 01:00

Anyone familiar with Laois GAA will have heard of the Miller clan from Timahoe. Dick Miller was county chairman a few years ago.

“My dad [the late Bobby Miller] is from Timahoe but I’m from Ballickmoyler on the Carlow border,” said Irish winger Alison Miller yesterday.

“Dick is my uncle, yeah. Big GAA people. All my uncles and Dad played county football although Dad took up rugby when he was 40, played for one year. He was always interested in rugby but all other sports as well.”

That trait was undoubtedly passed on.

For all the Gaelic footballing pedigree in this famous gang of Laois brothers, it’s the 26-year- old’s try against the mighty New Zealand that will live longest in the family’s already proud sporting history.

“I just remember Niamh Briggs getting the ball and thinking something could happen here. When Niamh gets the ball something can always happen. I just had to get up in support.”

Briggs did do something, stepping one then breaking another would-be New Zealand tackle and drawing outhalf Kelly Brazier. Miller, who has represented Ireland schools at the 400 metre hurdles, was already at full pelt.

The pass ensured she didn’t have to break stride.

“I looked up and there was still a player (New Zealand scrumhalf Emma Jensen). I just tried to do something with my feet, bring her in or out, I wasn’t sure if I was going to step in or step out. I just did it. Ended up going on the outside of her and went for the corner.”

England and Lions winger Jason Robinson used to always say: ‘If I don’t know what I’m going to do how the hell can the tackler?’

It’s a nightmare scenario for the last defender when faced with such natural pace.

“Yeah, you can’t be read,” Miller agreed. “It got me over in the corner thank God.”

She scorched past Jensen yet, somehow, Brazier got across to make a last ditch tackle but with two hands firmly gripping the ball Miller’s momentum was never going to be stopped.

Anything new

Flat on her back, she was mobbed by Briggs, Sophie Spence and Gillian Bourke. As the rest of her team-mates piled in it became apparent that there wasn’t a breath of air left in her lungs. They all left her there in the corner to recover.

“The girls will always slag that I never look great after scoring a try so there isn’t anything new there.”

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