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'I'd be certainly interested': All Blacks star keen on Major League Rugby move

By Alex McLeod
Rafael Suanes / www.photosport.nz

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All Blacks star Will Jordan has revealed he is interested in playing Major League Rugby [MLR] should the competition continue to build traction over the coming years.

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Since its inception in 2018, the MLR has grown rapidly as a start-up league, with the number of teams expanding from seven to 13 teams across the United States and Canada.

Numerous star figures have also headed to North America to ply their club trade since then, including All Blacks legend Ma’a Nonu, Wallabies greats Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper, Springboks icon Tendai Mtawarira, ex-England captain Chris Robshaw, and French behemoth Mathieu Bastareaud.

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Now it appears that Jordan could join that list of expats in the MLR at some stage in his career as it continues its development as one of rugby’s leading emerging competitions.

Speaking to the What A Lad podcast, hosted by former Hurricanes fullback James Marshall, Jordan said that he is interested in playing overseas at some point down the line, and that the MLR holds plenty of intrigue for him.

The 2021 World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year described the competition as “enticing” for players looking to play abroad, but noted that he would only sign up for the MLR if it grows out of its “minor stages” of existence.

“At some point in my career, I’d be keen to go and explore that, whether it’s Japan or Europe,” Jordan, who scored a hat-trick for the All Blacks in their 104-14 thumping of the USA Eagles in October, told What A Lad.

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“I think one thing that’s actually enticing for players these days is potentially that American league sparking up.

“I’ve been to the States a couple of times. If that league ever did take off, then the opportunity to go and live over in the States for a year or two would be something I’d be pretty interested in.

“At the moment, it’s more in its minor stages, but, if that did pick up, I’d be certainly interested in that. But, I think at some point I’ll jump overseas probably a few years down the track and give it a nudge.”

A self-confessed fan of American sports and entertainment, Jordan said life in the United States holds plenty of appeal and suggested that would play a significant role in any potential decision to join the MLR.

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“Those American events over there are just next level,” the 23-year-old outside back, who is signed on with New Zealand Rugby until the end of next year, said.

“The sheer amount of sport on and the way they do it, all the entertainment and stuff is pretty cool, so the opportunity to get stuck into that, head down to NBA games and NFL games and that sort of thing would be epic.”

While he made no mention of which MLR side he would most like to join, Jordan’s Super Rugby Pacific franchise, the Crusaders, along with provincial union Canterbury, purchased a minority stake in the Seattle Seawolves three years ago.

That could potentially open the door for a move of some kind, potentially a sabbatical deal, to the two-time MLR champions.

There are currently four former All Blacks set to feature in next year’s edition of the MLR, a group of which that is headlined by Nonu, who has rejoined the San Diego Legion as a player-coach.

2011 World Cup champion Andy Ellis, meanwhile, will return for a second season with Rugby United New York, while prop Jamie Mackintosh and lock Issac Ross will continue their roles as player-coaches at the Austin Gilgronis.

The LA Giltinis, one of two new expansion sides this year, claimed the 2021 MLR title, thanks largely in part to the services of both Giteau and Ashley-Cooper, both of whom have since retired.

Jordan isn’t the only All Black to have recently lifted the lid on where his playing future may lie, as international teammate Jordie Barrett last week opened up to What A Lad about his desire to one day play rugby league in the NRL.

Listen to Will Jordan’s interview on the What A Lad podcast below:

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