Nelson number eight Isaiah Miller has strong rugby roots.
After three years in premier rugby, the blockbusting loose forward is finding his feet at the top level, and hoping to follow the path of his uncle, former All Black Paul Miller.
A member of the 2017 U19 side, Isaiah is hoping to force his way into the Tasman Mako for their 2018 Mitre 10 Cup campaign.
He will face plenty of competition for a spot in the loose forward with newest All Blacks Shannon Frizell and Jordan Taufua also in the Mako mix.
The Marlborough Boys College alumnus says he found the transition from college to premier rugby relatively seamless.
“It was similar to first XV but obviously a lot more physical.”
Isaiah says Nelson has a great team environment to be in and is feeling much more at ease as a key member of the club.
Despite a disappointing end to their sub union campaign, the 20-year-old believes they can still defend their Tasman Trophy. “We’re still hanging in there, we have had a few niggles and are just trying to recover, but confident we can be there or thereabouts.”
He says his career highlights to date came in 2017 when his Nelson club won its 13th Tasman Trophy in 15 years before the U19 Mako went unbeaten in their South Island tournament.
“It was a pretty special year.”
Isaiah rates his ball carrying ability as his greatest asset.
“I just try to make those yards for the team.”
However, he believes he still has plenty of improvements to make to his game.
“I’ll keep training hard and working on my skills, especially my defence.”
He says he wants to increase his work rate and be “all over the field”. Isaiah says he draws inspiration seeing the likes of fellow Nelson rugby players Shannon, Quinten Strange and Andrew Knewstubb who have recently gained professional contracts.
“If I just keep doing what I’m doing, hopefully I can get there one day, too.”
Isaiah has been running around rugby fields since he was eight and says it is his dream to one day wear the All Black jersey his uncle donned in 2001.
“I definitely want to continue that legacy.”