Young England star hoping to shine in Europe

Newcastle fly half Rob Miller is determined to take his chance, having been named in the Falcons side for Saturday’s Amlin Challenge Cup opener at Italian side Petrarca Padova.

The 20-year-old scooped man-of-the-match honours in his last start three weeks ago at Leicester, saying: “That game was a real chance for me to show the coaches what I can do and what I’m about, so naturally it was disappointing to be left out of the side for the subsequent two weeks.

“To be fair to Steve Bates he’s explained his thinking about that, and I now have a great chance this weekend to put in another performance and hopefully stake my claim.”

Insisting his quest for improvement continues unabated, the Cumbrian said: “I’m a young player, and I’m learning every day in training from experienced guys like Jimmy Gopperth and Tane Tu’ipulotu.

“I know that if I take my chances I can make those selection decisions a lot more difficult for the coaches. The onus is on me to do that, and Saturday in Italy is a great place to continue that process.”

Asked what he knows of Saturday’s opponents, Miller admits: “We’re pretty light on videos of them, to be honest, but I think it’s more a case of just focusing on ourselves this week and backing our own ability to get the job done.

“We know about guys like Ludovic Mercier, who brings a great kicking game for them, and then via Stuart Grimes who played for Padova two years ago we also have a fair amount of information to work with.

“We’re definitely treating them with respect though, and we know from last year’s game out in Parma that you can never take anything for granted against these Italian teams.”

Forming part of a much-changed Falcons line-up, Miller said: “It’s an exciting back line that can get our starter moves really firing, and then from there the emphasis is on getting line breaks and using the pace out wide from Tom Biggs and Danny Williams.

“It’s up to us in the midfield to push the ball into those areas so they can go one-on-one at their opposite men, and if we can do that then we believe we have every chance.

“It was tough last week against Saracens because they run a blitz defence which cuts off the supply line to our wide players, but we’re going to Padova with a very open mind and looking to play a really attacking game. We’ll look to get some go-forward early on, and then from there look to the width for some points.”

Highlighting areas for his own development, he added: “Instinctively I like to play flat and run the ball as much as possible, but equally I know that I also have to have the other side of the game in my locker with the ability to play a territorial game and cope with slow ball.

“That’s all part of my development which will hopefully come with experience out on the field and in training, but I’m working hard with the coaches and senior players to really become more of an all-rounder as a fly half rather than running everything all the time.”

Excited at the prospect of forming a midfield partnership with Tane Tu’ipulotu and Gcobani Bobo, he added: “We’ve been training all week together as a back line, and it’s great having Tane and Bobz outside me because they’re about three-stone heavier and can really hit the hard yards.

“If I’m getting slow ball I can always look at them to hit it up, and having that physicality at your disposal gives you a lot more options obviously in addition to their pace and ball-playing ability.”

But with the result paramount, Miller insisted there was only one outcome in mind.

“Winning the game is massive in terms of the team’s confidence, although in fairness we’re a naturally confident bunch and we really believe in our own ability,” he said.

“We’re looking to push through the group stages and win this competition, but that all starts on Saturday and we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We’re going to really fl

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