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'I never thought I'd see another broken field runner like Christian Cullen but this kid could be'

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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Former All Blacks assistant Wayne Smith holds Crusaders fullback Will Jordan in high regard, paying him the ultimate compliment by comparing him to All Blacks legend Christian Cullen in an interview with Stuff.co.nz‘s Mark Reason.

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He called the 23-year-old a “potential superstar” of the game with “huge physical ability”, but would like to see his role expand more to do something Christian Cullen used to.

Jordan has room to expand his impact in games by detaching from his wing and popping up on the far side of play to get more touches on the ball.

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“Potential superstar,” Smith proclaimed when asked of his take on Jordan.

“He’s clearly smart. He has huge physical ability. He’s quick.

“What he hasn’t got yet (as a wing) is the ability to work around the scrumhalf. Those little plays when the nine arcs and he’s an option to the outside or he gets off his wing as a wrong-side runner i.e. he’s an option on the other side of the field.

“I’d like to see him used more in that role, sort of like Christian Cullen.”

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Jordan captured World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2021 with a standout season where the flying wing scored 15 test tries.

It was his ability to break away with elite speed that saw him score numerous long range tries from the right wing.

His individual chip-and-chase effort against Wales was one of his highlight moments that showcased everything Jordan has to offer with skills, speed, agility and vision.

Smith even went as far as saying that Jordan one day might match Cullen’s broken field ability, which is widely regarded as the best the game has ever seen.

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“I never thought I’d see another broken field runner like Christian Cullen but this kid could be,” he said.

“Christian had five gears. He hardly ever used fifth gear but when he did, I’ve never seen a guy accelerate from top speed like he could.”

While the All Blacks may continue to use him as a right wing in the foreseeable future, Jordan’s ability as a fullback was on show for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes in round one of Super Rugby Pacific over the weekend.

Popping up everywhere on both sides to torment the men from the capital, his first line break led to the first of Leicester Fainga’anuku’s three tries.

Fainga’anuku’s second try from a set-piece scrum that was also crafted from another explosive play by Jordan.

Running an inside line following a switch pass, Jordan sliced through the Hurricanes midfield before drawing fullback Jordie Barrett to finish the two-on-one.

On kick returns, Jordan continually ate metres to set-up the Crusaders’ attack with advantageous field positions. He finished with 140 running metres on 11 carries while coming up with two clean breaks.

Should Jordan’s hot form in the No 15 jersey continue, he may well get the chance one day to play the same position as Cullen did for the All Blacks.

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