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'Real elite, high performance': Jorja Miller talks SVNS and her new contract

By Ned Lester
Jorja Miller makes a break for the Black Ferns Sevens. Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

You might know Jorja Miller as the Black Ferns Sevens’ newest star, or the Christchurch Girls High product who scored four tries in the Condor Sevens final, or maybe as the 19-year-old who just signed the longest-ever contract (four years) with New Zealand Rugby by any female player.

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Through many remarkable feats, the youngster has captured the Sevens world’s attention and is locked in to continue her ascension to becoming one of the sport’s titans.

The new contract that will see Miller remain in the black jersey not just on the new SVNS circuit but at the 2024 Olympic games, is ground-breaking.

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“It started as an idea but was it realistic? It had never happened before,” Miller told Adam Julian for Newsroom.

“When Gossy and coach Cory (Sweeney) encouraged me to push for it I got my agent involved and things started to happen.

“There’s so much on the table with women’s sport but four more years in this team is really special. The Olympic games are a big goal, and the legacy of the Black Ferns is hard to match.

“I think it is just testament to the effort and the pathways the older girls have paved, both in 15s and sevens, and I think us women deserve it.”

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The new circuit kicks off this weekend in Dubai and the Black Ferns have landed in a stacked pool with South Africa, Great Britain and Fiji. The revitalised tournament’s concept has impressed Miller.

“I think it’s really exciting. To have the men and women together at the same tournament competing at the same level makes it real elite, high performance.

“Besides, the top teams like Australia playing Fiji is unmatched. The way they play is so physical, exciting, and unpredictable.

“Internally we are always evolving. This year we had a really long pre-season which is unusual, but it has given us the chance to give the development girls are real go. You never feel like a certain selection in this team. There is so much competition and scope to develop.”

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The way Miller speaks, much like the way she plays, exudes a maturity beyond her years.

“I want to be a serious rugby player, so I must make sacrifices. I still see my friends a lot and have a good time. I think balance is key.

“In the Black Ferns, there is a lot of emphasis on being a good person. I call home a lot and that helps me stay grounded.

“If you get stuck into celebrity and stuff too much, that’s not so beneficial. I’m lucky I can connect with other players who have lived it. We have great support around us, doctors, physios, and a psychiatrist.

“We’re lucky we get days off and get to experience the travel side of touring the world. This week in Dubai the girls went to a Chris Brown concert which was cool.”

Being at the very beginning of what promises to be a long and successful career, Miller will see the women’s game into an exciting new age.

“We sometimes have conversations about where women’s sport will be in 10 years. We often compare ourselves to the All Blacks. That’s not to say we are the All Blacks, but they are the benchmark for rugby.

“We’ve got a long way to go but it’s so exciting to create stepping stones for a brighter future.”

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1 Comment
f
flyinginsectshrimp 235 days ago

This week in Dubai the girls went to a Chris Brown concert which was cool.
Gross — he has a history of DV and violence towards women and would be last person I'd imagine these impressive young women would support.

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