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Why the return of ‘superstar’ Will Jordan is so important for All Blacks

By Finn Morton
Rafael Suanes / www.photosport.nz

Crusaders flyer Will Jordan hasn’t played a game of Super Rugby Pacific this season, but the outside could hold the key for the All Blacks at this year’s World Cup in France.

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After missing the All Blacks’ end-of-season tour with an inner-ear issue, Jordan was also ruled out of the Crusaders’ first nine games of the season.

While there was plenty of speculation about when the All Black could return as the season went on, the Crusaders continued to name their team without Jordan – well, until Thursday.

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Earlier this week, the Crusaders named their team to play the Western Force in Christchurch, which included the 21-Test All Black at fullback.

For both Crusaders and All Blacks fans, this was music to their ears before the Super Rugby Pacific playoffs and a World Cup.

Ahead of Jordan’s highly-anticipated return for the Crusaders on Saturday, former All Black Stephen Donald compared Will Jordan to a World Cup hero – believing Jordan can be “the guy” in France.

“For All Blacks rugby, for their World Cup chances, this is an incredible storyline,” Donald told SENZ The Run Home.

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“At some stage you thought, ‘Is this actually going to happen?’ But he’s back.

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“I think I said last year, he’s potentially the guy that you remember after a World Cup, (saying) it was his World Cup.

“(Springboks winger) Cheslin Kolbe was 2019’s absolute superstar.

“On the hard decks of a September in France, an October in France, Will Jordan has the ability to be that guy.

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“He and Rieko Ioane could be the absolute superstars of this World Cup.”

Jordan joins a star-studded backline at the Crusaders this weekend, including fellow All Blacks Richie Mo’unga, Leicester Fainga’anuku, David Havili and Braydon Ennor.

As seen by athletes all around the world, injuries or significant stints on the sideline can either make or break a career. But Donald expects Jordan to return in “career-best nick” against the Force.

“Sometimes when you have a good period out, you actually come back in career-best nick,” he added.

“You have been training for God knows how long… in the professional conveyer belt, you never get the time to put that sort of (training in).

“You literally have about a month or two to do a bit of conditioning and then you just recover from games… so there is a shining light behind all of this that he’ll probably be in career-best shape.”

The Crusaders host the Western Force at Christchurch’s Orangetheory Stadium at 4.35pm NZST on Saturday.

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