WILL MILLER: Christchurch showed us we’re close to a win. Now it’s time to deliver

Will Miller Columnist

By Will Miller, Will Miller is a Roar Expert New author!


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    From driving from Berry to Sydney each week to playing alongside the Wallabies captain: it's been quite the year for Will Miller. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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    Rugby’s a tough game. Stop playing well for a few minutes, and you risk letting a match slip away.

    That’s what happened last Saturday against the Crusaders. Our first 30 minutes in Christchurch was great. We were playing really good footy against a really good side, but then just stopped for a short time and let them back into the game.

    The biggest focus this week is going to be rectifying that ten-minute period before halftime, when the team just stopped playing.

    There wasn’t any particular reason for that – we just stopped. There are flows through the game and a little bit of lost focus cost us. That’s something we’ll improve through the rest of the season.

    Being back at home is something to look forward to – playing in front of local fans is always a highlight.

    That said, it’s not always the difference between winning and losing. You play on the same sized field every week, but it’s nice to be back home this week.

    Just like we’re working on being more consistent and playing the full 80 minutes as a team, that’s something I’m training to improve in my own game; ironing out the little kinks which appear a couple of times a match.

    The step up to Super Rugby level is a big one, so working on things like my tackling and ball-running is important. While my off-the-ball game is probably my main strength, I do like to get my hand on the ball and go for a run, and that’s something I need to get better at.

    It’s been a busy last year for me. I had a stint with the Rebels in 2017, which is hard to compare to the environment up here with the Tahs. I think I was a little bit homesick down there, and it was pretty tough compared to here.

    I still miss home – which for me is Berry in country New South Wales – but I can go back once a week on a day off. I don’t miss the driving sessions I used to do when I was still living down there last year. It was exhausting.

    But now it’s great to have signed a contract extension with the Waratahs. It’s the club I have always wanted to be a part of, and it’s exciting to play for another year and help the side be as successful as possible.

    There are plenty of guys the squad to learn from, and one player worth mentioning in particular is Michael Hooper. He’s someone that doesn’t put a foot wrong, so it’s good to watch him and pick his brain every now and then.

    He’s obviously an exceptional player and I get to train against and with him to help me become a better player. To play and learn from the best seven in Australia is a pretty good experience for my rugby.

    Michael’s renowned as a relentless player on the field, and that’s what he’s like when you go up against him on the training paddock. He doesn’t stop, he just keeps going, and he wants to win all the time, so it’s an excellent attitude to have for the team.

    As a whole, the team is feeling really good at the moment. We might have had a few losses recently, but the start of season was strong and everyone knows we’re close to playing good footy. An extra five or ten per cent on the field and the results will take care of themselves.

    As for this week against the Highlanders, the team is confident. We’re confident every time we go into a game no matter who we’re up against. But with the results the last two weeks the boys are really up for it.

    The Waratahs will go up against the Highlanders this weekend with a chance to break Australia’s long-running Super Rugby drought against trans-Tasman opposition, so be sure to grab a NSW Waratahs home ticket and get down to Allianz Stadium to enjoy all the action.

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    The Crowd Says (44)

    • May 17th 2018 @ 2:23pm
      Fionn said | May 17th 2018 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

      Thanks for the perspective, Will.

      I’ve been impressed by you this year. Best of luck.

      • May 17th 2018 @ 6:54pm
        Boomeranga said | May 17th 2018 @ 6:54pm | ! Report

        Yeah I was really pleased to read he had been extended. In a way I think we need to sign more guys like Will that have served an apprenticeship in community rugby and, perhaps, both appreciate the opportunity for themselves and understand what it all means to us.

      • May 17th 2018 @ 8:24pm
        Joseph said | May 17th 2018 @ 8:24pm | ! Report

        Give us a break Will.
        The scoreline may have been close but there’s more to it than that. With a 29-0 deficit, the Crusaders had no right to win that game. Any good good team (and the Tahs are not) would not lose with a lead like that.
        You say the Tahs stopped playing for 10 minutes and LET the Crusaders back in. Let’s look from the reverse angle.. the Crusaders did not play until 10 minutes before halftime.
        There’s still a long way to go yet, IMO before we start saying “we’re close….”

    • Roar Guru

      May 17th 2018 @ 2:31pm
      Ralph said | May 17th 2018 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

      Good luck to you.

    • May 17th 2018 @ 2:51pm
      Masher said | May 17th 2018 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

      Mate while I tend to agree with you and they need to be more consistent I think you’re underplaying the fact that at the 30 minute mark the Crusaders stopped kicking for Folau to run onto and started to shut down the room that they’d given to Foley. Folau hardly saw the ball after that time and funnily enough that’s when their attack faltered. Personally I don’t rate Folau as more than just a good 15, still see him as a better winger, but I can’t deny that when you give him the ball in space he is dynamic and that never happened after that first 30 minuted

      • May 18th 2018 @ 7:03am
        bluesfan said | May 18th 2018 @ 7:03am | ! Report

        Yip According to some people Beale, Foley and Folau would not even make the Crusaders bench – very average players – as they displayed last Saturday night.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 18th 2018 @ 12:56pm
          piru said | May 18th 2018 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

          My feeling is he’s great with the ball and when the game is coming to him, but isn’t sure what to do or where to be when it isn’t.

          • Roar Guru

            May 18th 2018 @ 1:48pm
            Wal said | May 18th 2018 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

            It that inherent knowledge of the game isn’t it. Picking your moments to inject yourself.

            Lomu used to fade in and out of matches earlier in his career until he learnt when and where to go looking for work.
            Ben Smith and Isreal Dagg are masters at it, popping up just at the right moment either in attack or in Smiths case defence.
            Australia’s best at fullback would have to have been was probably Latham he was infuriating to watch as an opposition supporter, pace to exploit a gap but more importantly awareness of where gaps were going to open up. Beale the best of the current crop in attack but a bit deficient in defence.

          • Roar Rookie

            May 18th 2018 @ 1:53pm
            Paulo said | May 18th 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

            Piru, nail meet head.

            Saders kicked for him to run onto and got burnt, not sure what the actual intention was there, but after they stopped, he didn’t go looking for work. It is interesting to contrast that to Ben Smith, who knows when and where to inject himself. That seems to be missing from a lot of Folau’s play.

    • Roar Guru

      May 17th 2018 @ 4:25pm
      Harry Jones said | May 17th 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

      You are a really good player, mate.

      Go hard and well.

    • May 17th 2018 @ 4:43pm
      Zulu said | May 17th 2018 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

      This comment has been removed for breaching The Roar’s comments policy.

      • May 17th 2018 @ 5:52pm
        Dontcallmeshirley said | May 17th 2018 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

        I disagree. I for one really enjoy the contributions from players on this site. Long may it continue.

        • May 17th 2018 @ 6:43pm
          Jacko said | May 17th 2018 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

          me too DCMS….i love hearing their thoughts and wish we had a bit more honest open conversations re their rugby. And this seems a pretty honest account. i remember a ABC series in the 80s where the Wallabies and ABs went on a quiz show together…They were having a ball and enjoying each others company…We dont see that enough

    • May 17th 2018 @ 4:52pm
      aussikiwi said | May 17th 2018 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

      Nice perspective, thank you. Go well, but not too well, against the Mighty Highlanders!