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'Came of age in that third quarter': Will Jordan earns Foster's trust

By Ben Smith
Will Jordan scored an exceptional individual try for the All Blacks against Wales. (Photo by Matt Impey/ www.Photosport.nz)

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All Black flyer Will Jordan continued his blistering try-scoring pace in Cardiff, coming up with a stunning long-range individual effort to break the game open against Wales with a little over a quarter of the game to go.

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Fielding a long uncontested box kick from Tomas Williams, Jordan began a patient run with a skip and turn to the outside before turning on the jets to gas around reserve lock Will Rowlands.

At full speed into the Welsh backfield, he summed up his options quickly before putting a chip over scrumhalf Williams and outpacing him to field the perfect bounce to stun the Cardiff crowd.

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Dan Biggar on the Autumn Nations Series | All Access
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Dan Biggar on the Autumn Nations Series | All Access

The moment of individual brilliance came after the All Black right wing found himself getting more involved the game after the break after a relatively quiet first half.

Head coach Ian Foster said his young winger ‘came of age’ in the third quarter and praised his progress within the squad.

“I thought Will Jordan came of age in that third quarter,” Foster said.

“He’s making some really good progress, I was delighted with him. At the end I really wanted to keep Jordie [Barrett] on to finish the game with his brother, I thought that would be quite special, so there was a little bit of juggling at the back.”

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Foster was pleased with the way Jordan bounced back after being subbed early against South Africa in Townsville a month ago. The Crusaders outside back missed the follow up match that the All Blacks lost on the Gold Coast, with Sevu Reece getting the nod for a start.

Jordan returned to the line-up last week in Washington against the USA and immediately returned to try-scoring form, bagging a hat-trick at FedEx Field.

“He’s new to the All Blacks, I know he’s scored lots of tries and admittedly some of those were against softer opposition but if you looked at his game, he’s just been progressing,” Foster said.

“I thought the South African game, he learnt a little bit about what it is like in those big tests. The physical side and the decision-making side, and we’ve challenged him in that space.

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Jordan found his way into the game in the second half making some key aerial grabs to win back possession for the All Blacks, using the kick return opportunities to find some running lanes.

After fielding a kick in the 43rd minute, Jordan found some hesitant tackles landing back on the ground and exploded through a small crease for his first line break breaking off a 30-metre run before going to ground with the ball.

The All Blacks soon found three points through the boot of Jordie Barrett to extend their lead to 21-3. His next touch proved to be deadly for Wales, as they kicked it deep inviting Jordan to run it back again from which he scored his try.

“I thought he came back really, really strong tonight. Again, it took him a little while but it does for everyone when they come up here and you are playing a different type of game, and the field feels a bit smaller, the crowd is louder, and it feels like there is more pressure.

“Delighted with the way he grew into it, he looked quite physical in that third quarter which was pleasing.”

Jordan’s score against Wales was his 16th test try in just his 11th appearance, and his 14th of the calendar year for the All Blacks.

His try-scoring season is reminiscent of teammate Rieko Ioane’s breakout season in 2017 where the left wing scored 10 test tries, including two at the same ground in Cardiff four years ago.

Halfback TJ Perenara lauded Jordan’s abilities, highlighting that his chip and chase try ‘isn’t an easy thing’ to pull off going on to say the ‘sky is the limit’ for a player like Will Jordan.

“He’s got all the skills in the world,” Perenara told media in the post-match press conference.

“He’s fast, he’s bigger than I thought he was, he’s probably running around at anywhere between 98 to 100 kgs, so he’s strong. He’s got silky skills, he showed with that try today the chip and chase.

“That’s at high speed, a chip like that and to be able to get there and score it, isn’t an easy thing to do.

“The sky is the limit for a player like that with all the attributes.

“For him to be able to work at his craft, is something we need to do throughout our careers, add strengths to your bow, to sharpen the sword each and every day is something that he will look to do I assume.

“Like I say, he’s a class player with all the attributes and sky is the limit for him.”

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