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Rugby

06th Apr 2022

Ali Miller’s journey to get her first Ireland cap was an achievement in itself

Luke Jennings

Ali Miller

“They might not be ready yet, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be ready in a year or two.”

Ali Miller joined the House of Rugby panel to reflect on her career, where she detailed her rise from the development league to the international team.

The 2013 Grand Slam winner highlighted the need for a clearer pathway through the amateur ranks for up-and-coming talent. Miller won 47 caps for her country, as well as scoring 24 tries.

Ali Miller

Ali Miller on not getting picked for Leinster trials.

In 2009, Miller got Leinster trials off the back of a successful season with Portlaoise, however, she didn’t get selected for their games that season.

The 37-year-old reflected on making the move to Connacht instead, which led to an Ireland call-up and debut against Italy in February 2010. Miller scored a try in Ashbourne on that day which lead to her becoming a mainstay in the side.

“I went to Leinster trials, off my first season with Portlaoise in the development league. I didn’t get picked, I didn’t even get a callback, but I knew I was good enough, deep down,” Miller told the House of Rugby.

“So I took the long road to Connacht, and I played one match for Connacht then got selected by the Irish coach to go into camp.”

Ali Miller

Miller on believing in her ability.

Miller reflected on becoming a part of the international set-up for the Six Nations matches in 2010, picking out how she could have easily missed out due to a lack of eyes on the regional game.

The winger’s perseverance paid dividends as Miller always felt she could always reach the highest levels. She went on to reach the semi-final of the Women’s Rugby World Cup, scoring a try in the historic pool triumph over New Zealand. Back in 2014, it was the first time Ireland had ever beaten New Zealand, in the men’s or women’s senior games.

The two-time Six Nations winner had wondered, upon reflection, how many other girls have missed out due to a lack of scouting. She is of the opinion that development is constantly ongoing so if someone isn’t ready now, they could be in the future.

“I started the first game of the Six Nations and I played them all that year in 2010. So someone like me could of been easily missed,” Miller added.

Ali Miller

“I could of said, ‘Okay, I’m obviously not good enough to play for Leinster.’ But I suppose that ignorance, or whatever it was, that I had something there that I could do it.

“How many other girls maybe have been missed, you know? Like, they might not be ready yet, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be ready in a year or two.”

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