Paul Miller watched Japan earthquake 'in horror'

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 15/03/2011
ON THE CHARGE:  Paul Miller playing for the Kurita Water Industries club in Japan.
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ON THE CHARGE: Paul Miller playing for the Kurita Water Industries club in Japan.

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Former All Black Paul Miller watched his television in horror on Friday night as the country he has strong ties to was struck by a devastating earthquake and tsunamis.

Waikaka's favourite son carved out an impressive career with Southland and Otago but for the past five years has been playing his rugby in Japan.

He returned to Dunedin inDecember to live but headed back to Japan a fortnight ago to say his final goodbyes.

A week after that visit to Japan the country was thrust into the news when a massive tsunami followed a magnitude 9.0 earthquake

"I was watching the Hurricanes-Chiefs game and then flicked over to see that and ended up watching it until about two in the morning," Miller told The Southland Times yesterday.

He said watching many parts of the Japanese landscape which he knew so well go under water was devastating and surreal.

The hardest-hit area, Sendai, was where Miller's team use to hold their preseason training camps. Miller's immediate thoughts when he watched on Friday were to his team-mates and good friends in Japan.

"It was a bit of a worry. I just got on the phone and tried to ring them but the phone lines were busy, it was a bit nerve-racking really."

In the following days, Miller was able to reach his close friends in Japan and was pleased to find they were all safe.

Another former Stags players, Jason Kawau, is in Japan at the moment but hasn't been caught up in the earthquake or tsunamis.

Meanwhile, Miller is settling into life after Japan as he prepares to enter the coaching world taking on the role of Pirates coach in Dunedin's club competition.

He hasn't hung up the boots entirely but admits it is time to take a step backwards after 15 years as a fulltime rugby player.

Miller has fielded a host of calls from the Waikaka region to see whether he might step out for his old club in the Southland division one competition.

"That's something I've got on my list to do before I hang up the boots for good," he said yesterday.

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- The Southland Times

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