Will Jordan is perhaps the unluckiest man floating around the Super Rugby sides this weekend. After three weeks of dynamic displays in the fullback and wing jerseys, the 22-year-old has found himself consigned to the bench for tonight’s blockbuster between the Crusaders and the Blues.
With Jordan, Sevu Reece, George Bridge and David Havili all fit and available for selection, there was always going to be one player who missed out on starting but few would have expected it to be the Tasman outside back, who’s stood out in a high-flying Crusaders backline.
Jordan tops the Super Rugby Aotearoa try-scoring charts with four to his name, while he’s also first in clean breaks, defenders beaten and metres gained. Still, that’s not been enough to fend off the challenges of Reece, Bridge and a fit-again Havili.
“It’s obviously a hard decision, to start with,” Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson said following his team announcement. “In red hot form but when you’ve got two All Black wingers and your vice-captain [Havili] was probably player of the season before COVID, we spent a lot of time on the decision … who would start.
“But the young fella is going to bring a lot off the bench. We’d start all four if we could; there’s no doubt about his ability to perform but the other guys are really experienced and deserve the opportunity to wear the jersey.”
Robertson didn’t reveal any shocking truths when asked what makes Jordan such a special player, just confirming what every fan who’s tuned into a Crusaders match over the last couple of years will already know.
“He’s just explosive, isn’t he? He’s got great timing and anticipation and can beat a man. He’s pretty exciting but he’ll get more chances.”
With Ben Smith now playing overseas, a spot has opened up in the All Blacks squad for a talented outside back that can cover both fullback and wing. Jordan fits the bill perfectly and Robertson shed some light on what his young prodigy needs to do push for higher selection.
“The consistency over the next five matches for him is really important to keep that going. [The All Blacks selectors] want to see that ability to perform each week but he’s got all the abilities required so he’s definitely on the radar.”
The Crusaders and Blues are both unbeaten heading into tonight’s match and the winner will have one hand firmly on the Super Rugby Aotearoa trophy. The match kicks off from Orangetheory Stadium at 7:05PM NZT.
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