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Maryland Exile Lock Evan Miller off to Rennes Academy in France

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Maryland Exile Lock Evan Miller off to Rennes Academy in France

Evan Miller ticked all the boxes for Renes Academy head Inaki Basauri. Photo Maryland Exiles.

Maryland Exiles U19 lock Evan Miller is on his way to France to train with the Rennes Rugby Academy.

Miller, whose father, Mark Miller, played 7s for the USA in 1990, is an impressive 6-4, 235 forward with a strong work rate and a ton of potential. He got this opportunity in part because the Academy in Rennes is run by Inaki Basauri, the former Maryland Exile who played for the USA in the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Basauri keeps in contact with Dan Soso, his old coach, and the goings on at MDX, and liked what he saw in Miller.

"I keep in touch with Soso. who sends me videos of the Exiles' games," Basauri told GRR. "Evan has great hands and is very athletic for his frame, and for an 18-year-old, he's pretty big by French standards. He's a standup kid, great work ethic and very respectful."

So Basauri reached out to Soso and to Mark Miller to see if Evan wanted to come to Rennes, and he jumped at the chance.

"He is basically all you're looking for in a player, as a coach," Basauri said.

 

 

"I told him that I thought the kid would be open to go to France, and I put Evan's parents in touch with him," said Soso. "More film and lots of hard work prepping to go, but his combine numbers were off the chart. It'll be a great opportunity for him to follow in Inaki's footsteps and get a chance to compete at the highest level after being overlooked by the USA age-grade programs."

What Miller will learn is a lot about decision-making at a higher pace of game, reading the game, and learning a new system. France is possibly leading the world in how they develop their young talent, but there's always room for someone from overseas.

"It’s a big step though," warned Basauri, whose background is both French and Mexican but who represented the USA at U19 and senior level. "Changing cultures, getting out of one’s comfort zone, going to a club where you might not be the best—he’s going to be thrown in with some of France's best."

And he will get as many as 30 games.

"I have been working with the French Federation for a couple of years, and they have great systems in place for the youth and academy players. The FFR invested a considerable amount in player and coach development in the past 6-8 years and it’s been paying off lately in the U18, U20, and senior level."

Basauri added, though, that there are opportunities for American players in this system.

Evan's father is accompanying him to France to help him get settled.