Cambridge University wing Amelia Miller completed her remarkable rugby rise by taking home the Bunting-Peggers Award at the end of her team’s Women’s Varsity win over Oxford University.
Miller, from Hampton School, usually plays in midfield at Lacrosse and only took up rugby eight weeks ago. Good enough to play at the Under 19 World Cup, and currently a member of the England senior lacrosse squad, Miller only lives a minute from Twickenham Stadium.
Swapping the stands for the pitch at the home of English rugby, she was named player of the match as her team edged a competitive encounter, 8-5.
“It is so, so special, especially as I have only been playing rugby for eight weeks,” said Miller.
“I started this term, so it is a huge honour given this is the 30th anniversary of the Women’s Varsity. “It says a lot about women’s sport, where it has come from, and where it is going. I am so proud to be a woman today and representing the sport.
“I only live a minute away in Twickenham and whenever I’ve been here before to watch England I’ve been up in the Gods. It was such a crazy feeling walking out on the pitch and playing here.
“I play lacrosse and it was only last year that one of the rugby girls approached me. I really wish I had started in my first year. This term has been amazing and I can’t wait to carry on next.”
Cambridge went to the break 5-0 up thanks to a try from No 8 Emily Pratt as Oxford – who gave everything – lost blindside flanker Maria Bernier to a yellow card.
Lock Alice Elgar couldn’t convert Pratt’s score, but she did kick an early second-half penalty to push Cambridge further clear. It was a lead they never relinquished.
Miller was a stand-out performer as Cambridge’s impressive rearguard defence saw them come out on top. Oxford did grab a late try through lock Katie Collis, but it was not enough for victory.
Reflecting on her short journey in rugby so far, Miller added: “I am kicking myself that I didn’t take up rugby earlier because this is my last year.
“I played lacrosse all the way through school and played in the Under-19 World Cup. Now I am in the senior England programme.
“There is a lot of crossover in terms of how to read a defence. Tackling is different and that is something I’ve really had to push.
“It is so different playing on a muddy, university pitch and coming to play at a venue like Twickenham.
“Now I will definitely carry on playing rugby.”
The dates for next year’s Varsity Matches has already been confirmed for Thursday 12 December 2019 at Twickenham Stadium. Ticket information will be released soon.