Coach backs Miller for next level

Kaikorai first five-eighth Ben Miller fends University lock Ben Reidy during a premier game at...
Kaikorai first five-eighth Ben Miller fends University lock Ben Reidy during a premier game at Logan Park in March. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
If Otago needs another option at pivot then Kaikorai's Ben Miller could fit the bill.

His club coach, Roger Cotton, is confident the former New Zealand Australian rules representative has the skills to make the step up to provincial rugby.

Miller has been a key cog in the Kaikorai backline this year. The strapping first five-eighth is arguably the hardest-running No10 in the competition.

The former Taieri player creates havoc when he attacks the line, he is a good communicator and a very reliable goal-kicker. He has been operating at "about 85%" this season.

"He has been going really well," Cotton said.

"He is in a leadership role and he is really taking the bull by the horns there. I couldn't ask more of him, to be honest."

Miller certainly has the chops on attack. But those instincts to run the ball sometimes mean he neglects his tactical kicking game.

"It is improving but it is certainly a work-on for him. But generally I'd say it is pretty good.

"I definitely think he is capable of it [playing at the next level]. I'm not sure if he is what they want - that's another thing. But I wouldn't have any problems picking him if it was me."

The Otago squad was named earlier this week. Injured sevens star and outside back Vilimoni Koroi is providing cover at first five-eighth for Josh Ioane.

But Otago coach Ben Herring has left three or four slots open and one of them is probably reserved for specialist cover in the crucial position.

Miller and Harbour's Logan Allen shape as the most likely candidates from the premier grade.

Kaikorai has been one of the form teams this season but a disappointing opening 30 minutes against Taieri at Peter Johnstone Park last weekend proved costly.

Kaikorai trailed 28-0 after 28 minutes. It fought back with a penalty try and a try to front-rower Sam Wyber but lost 28-12.

Cotton felt his side did not arrive with the right attitude but will be motivated for its match against Southern at Bishopscourt tomorrow.

Southern was dispatched 39-0 by Harbour and appears to be a team on the slide.

Taieri has clawed its way up to third and will host a Dunedin team which has struggled this year.

In the match of the round, Harbour hosts Green Island in a top-of-the-table game at Watson Park, while University should be too strong for Alhambra-Union at the University of Otago Oval.

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