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Will Jordan named World Rugby's Breakthrough Player of the Year

By Tom Vinicombe
(Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

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All Black Will Jordan has been named World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year.

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The 23-year-old outside back has pipped Australia’s Andrew Kellaway, Wales’ Louis Rees-Zammit and England’s Marcus Smith for the prestigious award, which has been previously picked up by the likes of Romain Ntamack, Rieko Ioane and Maro Itoje.

While Jordan made his test debut in 2020, no awards were dished out last year due to the significantly affected international calendar which saw a huge disparity in the number of games played by each nation.

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While the likes of England and Wales managed to get through almost a full roster of games, New Zealand and Australia notched up just six apiece and South Africa didn’t play a single match.

Jordan burst onto the scene for the All Blacks last season when he made his first significant appearance off the bench in the side’s 38-0 win over Argentina, with the reserve winger scoring two opportunistic tries late in the match to help his side to a comfortable victory.

This year, Jordan has maintained his hot run of scoring, grabbing five tries in the All Blacks’ opening fixture against Tonga, and touching down a further 10 times throughout the year.

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While Jordan typically plays his rugby at fullback for the Crusaders, it’s on the right wing where’s weaved his magic for the All Blacks, eventually taking over as the first-choice in the No 14 jersey during the season.

The All Blacks released a video on their social media accounts of Jordan being awarded the Breakthrough Player of the Year by teammates Beauden Barrett and Ioane – although the young outside back didn’t know at the time what was happening.

“Sorry, can I just get a brief of what we’re actually doing here?” Jordan asked when Barrett questioned the youngster how he found his first full season of test rugby.

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“It means a lot to win this, it’s been an exciting year for me and the team as well,” Jordan said, when Ioane handed over the award. “I was involved with the team a little last year but it’s nice to be on the field a little more this year. Thanks to the coach for the opportunity.”

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