When it was announced in January that Rob Miller was leaving Sale Sharks for London Wasps, as a Sharks’ supporter, I was devastated to say the least.
As one of Sale’s best young prospects; being the Aviva Premiership’s Top Try Scorer of the 2011/12 season, having represented England at U16, U18 and U20 level and having won 2 caps for England Saxons in this years’ 6 Nations, it seems a travesty that Sale have lost him.
So as the rugby season has now ended for Sale Sharks, who finished their 2013/14 campaign at a brilliant 6th, I decided to interview him before he jets off down to London.
I started off by asking him how hard was it to make the decision to leave Sale Sharks? “It was a very hard decision for me to leave Sale, it is a great club and I have had 4 very enjoyable seasons here. The fans are brilliant supporting us all over Europe and I have made some great friends here in Manchester. For me I felt it was a good time to undertake a new challenge in my rugby career and try something different but I will have very fond memories of my time at Sale”.
One of the great friends Miller has made at Sale Sharks is James Gaskell, who is also moving to London Wasps this summer. “I currently live with Jamma along with Tom Holmes and have previously lived with Will Cliff in my time here.” He goes on to confirm that the current housemates will carry on living together throughout their time at Wasps – “Jamma and I are planning on living together in London and will hopefully sort somewhere soon. We currently live in his house; he’s a good housemate (although charges us all too much rent!)”.
Miller joined Sale Sharks in 2010 from Newcastle Falcons, aged just 21, and has had a very successful four seasons with the club – he has played in a total of 99 games, scored 24 tries and has a total of 242 points to his name. Therefore he had many memories to choose from when I asked him what was his best memory from his time at Sale? “On the field, my best memory at Sale was probably Gloucester away in the 2011/2012 season when we needed to win at Kingsholm to qualify for next seasons’ Heineken Cup. Not many teams win down there and it was a high pressure game but we played really well as a team and got a great win”.
“Off the field there has been plenty! I think the friendships I have made with the lads throughout my time here has been the best thing. We spend a lot of time together inside and outside the club and a lot of the younger lads live together so we all get on really well”.
Miller, who is one of 4 Millers in the Premiership, comes from a small village called Bothel, in North Cumbria. Miller admits being a long way from his family will be one thing he misses from living in the North – “Living in Manchester, I’m only 2 hours from my family home back up in The Lake District so moving to London will make it a little harder to get home to see friends and family. I have enjoyed living in Manchester, I like the area and the people are very friendly”.
Miller, who will turn 25 in August, will join ex Sale players Kearnan Myall and Chris Bell at Wasps. London Wasps, who won 4 titles between 2003-2008, were once flanked the ‘team to beat’ in the Aviva Premiership. With the great signings they have made in Miller and Gaskell, it seems possible that next season they may once again earn this label back.
As we come to the end of the interview, Rob reflects on what he’s looking forward to most at his new club – “I’m looking forward to the new challenge of trying to establish myself in a new squad and playing in a new team. I know this will be tough as they have a strong squad, so I will have my work cut out in the summer during pre season”.
I’m sure I speak for all of Sale Sharks’ fans when I say that Miller will be greatly missed in the Sale lineup next season. As a fellow Cumbrian, I was sad to see the Cumbrian contingent decrease at Sale Sharks but thankfully, with Mark Cueto having signed another year’s contract at the club, there will still be two Cumbrian citizens at Sale – Cueto and Will Addison.
I wish Rob all the best for the future and look forward to following his progress at London Wasps!
Quick fire questions
Who will win the Aviva Premiership this year?
It will be a tough call because on the day all the teams can beat one another. They all have strong squads too so it will be too close to call at present!
Who will win the RWC 2015?
The southern hemisphere teams always perform well at the World Cup and have some of the best players in the world in their squads. However, with the way they have been building momentum and a strong home following, I think England can repeat 2003 and win the World Cup.
What’s your favourite rugby ground?
I enjoy playing at the big rugby town stadiums within the league, the atmosphere at places like Leicester and Northampton when they are sold out are really good. However, I have really enjoyed our Friday night games at both Edgeley Park and the AJ Bell stadium with the crowd creating a great atmosphere!
Who’s your rugby hero?
I don’t think I have one specific hero. When I was younger I used to go and watch my Dad play on the Saturday then me and my brother would play for the junior team on the Sunday. Growing up I used to like watching Jonah Lomu, as he’d always be a threat when he got the ball and would be so hard to tackle. The 2003 World Cup final was something I remember well, so the players involved in that were probably people I looked up to as I was growing up.
Apart from rugby, what are your hobbies?
I managed to finish my degree before Christmas so I spent most of my free time completing that. I enjoy playing golf and there are a few of us who try to get out a few times a week. I also help coach the 1stXV at Lymm high school and help out with the U17 academy lads at the club with Ray Unsworth, Dave Wilks and Brendan Thomas.
Where is your favourite place in the World?
Australia is my favourite place I have visited. I spent time in Sydney and Brisbane and had a great time. I’ve been very lucky that through rugby I’ve been able to visit places like Australia, Japan and European cities including Venice.