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‘Feeling for my mate’: Caleb Clarke reacts to Will Jordan’s devastating injury

By Finn Morton
(L-R) Caleb Clarke, Will Jordan and Jordie Barrett of the All Blacks celebrate with the Bledisloe Cup in the changing room after winning The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Marvel Stadium on September 15, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

All Blacks and Blues wing Caleb Clarke insists the Crusaders will still “be threatening” this season despite losing New Zealand teammate Will Jordan to a pre-existing shoulder injury.

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The Crusaders confirmed on Tuesday that Jordan would miss the entire 2024 Super Rugby Pacific campaign after the team decided the star outside back needs surgery

Jordan, who has played 31 games for the All Blacks at just 25 years of age, has been ruled out for about six months which could see the try-scoring machine miss New Zealand’s two-match series against England.

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But with the Crusaders’ season set to get underway on Friday night in a grand final rematch away to the Chiefs, Jordan’s absence leaves a deeper hole in the team’s depth chart.

Former Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny is also set to miss up to four months with a torn pectoral muscle, and the three-tour British and Irish Lion would’ve been a chance to replace Jordan if fit.

But the Crusaders, who famously have won seven Super Rugby titles in as many years, are champions for a reason. Blues wing Caleb Clarke has tipped the Christchurch-based team to be “good enough” to fill the hole left by the injured All Black.

“As a rugby player you never want other players to get injured, no matter how good they are for other teams,” Clarke told reporters this week.

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“Will, we played schools together, 20s together, at the next levels after that so I’m really feeling for my mate.

“Hopefully he can come back for the international season, I know he’ll be good enough to come back and make his stand there.

“Feeling for him, feeling for his family and the Crusaders.

“I think the Crusaders have a lot of depth so as much they would miss a key part, they’ll still be threatening and you’ve still got to be ready for them.

“Definitely feeling for them but the Crusaders are good enough where they can do it without anyone in any position.”

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While the Crusaders will need to deal with the loss of Jordan just before the season, Clarke’s Blues are firmly focused on their own “unpredictable” round-one match-up.

Following two Trans-Tasman derbies on Friday night, the competition’s focus will shift to the Blues’ clash with the Fijian Drua in the first afternoon game of the 2024 season.

The Blues are taking this match against the Drua to Semenoff Stadium in Whangarei on Saturday at 4:35 pm NZT.

“Everyone’s in good spirits,” Clarke said. “I think coming off a pretty good pre-season, that pre-Christmas training all the boys out in the hard work with Vern (Cotter) at the helm.

“Those three games really gave us a good confidence booster but we’ve got Drua coming up and they’re unpredictable; they’re big, they’re strong, they’re fast.

“It’s gonna be a good challenge but I know we’ll build through the week and we’re all very excited.”

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1 Comment
R
Rugby 113 days ago

Caleb grow up. still no room for you Reece is back

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