Sport

Former British Lion Nigel Redman believes Sale Sharks winger Rob Miller deserves more game time

By Ben Baker

As the man who saw Rob Miller flourish in an England junior shirt, former British Lion Nigel Redman knows exactly what the wing can offer, believing Sale Sharks don’t appreciate just what a talent they have.

Redman is back in the Premiership as Worcester’s forwards coach – however, his former guise was with the Rugby Football Union, looking after England’s under-20s.

In this role Redman utilised Miller to full extent as the two claimed a Grand Slam together in 2008 as well as reaching the final of the Junior World Championship in the same year.

The duo have since gone their separate ways and Redman has gone from lauding the 23-year-old to fearing him with his knack of try-scoring – having finished last season as the Premiership’s top try scorer – a threat to his Worcester and the rest of the league.

But the former England and British Lion needn’t have worried when Sale travelled to Sixways and opted for Nick Macleod over Miller.

Redman admits to breathing a sigh of relief when he saw the team-sheets but once that had subsided he was left with one of shock and awe that Sale would willingly leave the winger on the sidelines.

“I am surprised that Rob hasn’t been talked about for England but I am probably more surprised after seeing him play that he hasn’t started in the last two Sale games,” said Redman, talking at this season’s LV= Cup launch.

“Nick Macleod is a good player but we were certainly surprised when Sale came down to Sixways that Miller didn’t start because we felt he was a major threat.

“I last coached England Under-20s in 2008 and I brought him on in the final against New Zealand with Ben Youngs because I knew that they would be the partnership for the following year.

“And certainly from an attacking perspective both brought huge amounts to the game and it was nice to see they have continued that.

“Rob had to change positions to do that because he started out as a ten but it is great to see him play well in a different position and it just shows what a wonderful footballer he is.

“He was electric last year and I am just surprised that Sale have left him out for whatever reason.”

It isn’t just Miller’s ability to cross the whitewash that has impressed Redman but also his talent with a kicking tee, evident for all to see when he held his nerve to send a late penalty over against Cardiff Blues for their first win of the season last month.

And Redman can’t see why he isn’t handed the task on a more regular basis.

“Certainly when he has come through the England 19s and 20s he had great attacking flair and was very quick, we all know that,” added Redman.

“But he was also a very accurate goalkicker and he doesn’t seem to be doing that much of it either at Sale at the moment.

“He really is a terrific goalkicker, that is something he isn’t given a lot of credit for but he is very good and I can’t understand why he isn’t afforded more opportunities.”

The LV= Cup kicks off on Friday, 9 November. Watch the next generation break through. For tickets and info, visit www.lv.com/rugby

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