Will Jordan: Old head on young shoulders

Will Jordan: Old head on young shoulders

Will Jordan is one of seven new names announced in the 35-man All Blacks squad. A fresh face yet he has entertained fans for three years in provincial rugby, with ‘the writing on the wall’ for a call to higher honours.

Named alongside Caleb Clarke, two men who stamped their report cards for an outstanding domestic Super Rugby competition. Jordan even finished off the efforts from his South team, with an aerial display to pull in a fine crossfield kick, to claim the victory.

That effort has been rewarded, with the All Blacks selectors choosing to name Will Jordan in their 35-man squad. Even without any confirmed dates on the International calendar, the delight that the Christchurch born player felt was undeniable.

“Probably didn’t really sink in until I heard my name. A surreal moment for me.

“There are so many good player’s in the outside backs, it’s pretty competitive. I was always hoping for the best but, it was nice to get the confirmation this morning.”

Early call-up praised by former All Blacks

The announcement was broadcast live from the New Zealand Rugby headquarters, in Wellington. Sky Sport hosted the announcement, with interviews with players like Will Jordan, skipper Sam Cane, head coach Ian Foster and comments from former All Blacks.

Leading the reports was Jeff Wilson. And he was full of praise for the naming of seven young men in the group. “Your always waiting to hear who the All Blacks selectors see, as ‘the next guys’. That will carry on the legacy in the All Black jersey. I’m really excited about the group.

“Those names that they’ve brought in, have stood up. And they’ve still got so much more growth in them.”

Justin Marshall was another, who glowed in his confidence that Jordan, Clarke, et all of the new players, would succeed. What he liked was the “positive attitude of the selectors.

Will Jordan of the Crusaders dives over to score a try during the round four Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and Chiefs. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

“I liked the words that Will Jordan used ‘playing on instinct’. That’s the key to a player playing with freedom. He expresses himself, and he’s gotta be given the license to do so”. In the Crusaders environment, he thrived.

And others like Karl Te Nana agreed.

“I think you talk about ‘old head on young shoulders’ it’s definitely Will Jordan. He gets put in these tough situations, and continues to get through.”

It was discussed that Jordan’s success in Super Rugby and in the North v South clash was built on his awareness. Putting himself in good field position. He stays alive and reacts well – demonstrated when he grasped onto a loose ball, to score the first of two tries.

Will Jordan: Old head on young shoulders

Already with five years of first-class rugby under his belt, Jordan was first a part of the 2017 Under 20 Championship-winning New Zealand side. He then debuted in the Mitre 10 Cup, lighting up the highlights reel for his provincial side, the Tasman Mako.

A graduate of the Crusaders graduate program, that saw his gain his first cap in 2019. No sooner was he earning a place in the 23, that he shone brightly with cameo roles off the bench, before earning eight tries in his first year.

That saw him a part of the Crusader’s third championship title in a row, and in 2020, that form continued. In Super Rugby Aotearoa, Will Jordan continued to impress, with six tries and a leading contender for player of the season [won by Richie Mo’unga].

Ian Foster will have recognized the fact that Jordan is both untested, yet has an ‘old head on young shoulders’. Even with the unknown schedule for the All Blacks, the likelihood is that handing Will Jordan a debut in black, would be a secure bet.

“That’s given us a lot of confidence to bring in a number of new players. That injects a massive enthusiasm that shows this group’s got a job to do, over the next few years”. The head coach is aware that whatever the desires in 2020 are, that new names like Will Jordan’s will be around for a longtime to come.

“There’s guys there that I guess we’ve got to trust that our job is to make sure they’re ready.”

Seven men were named in the 35-man group who at some time over the next few weeks and months, might all be given their chance to prove the selectors right.

The 35-strong All Blacks squad with age, Super Rugby franchise, province and Test caps:

Hookers

  • Asafo Aumua (23, Hurricanes / Wellington, uncapped, two matches)
  • Dane Coles (33, Hurricanes / Wellington, 69)
  • Codie Taylor (29, Crusaders / Canterbury, 50)

Props

  • Alex Hodgman (27, Blues / Auckland, new cap)
  • Nepo Laulala (28, Chiefs / Counties Manukau, 26)
  • Tyrel Lomax (24, Highlanders / Tasman, 1)
  • Joe Moody (31, Crusaders /Canterbury, 46)
  • Karl Tu’inukuafe (27, Blues / North Harbour, 13)
  • Ofa Tuungafasi (28, Blues / Auckland, 35)

Locks

  • Quinten Strange (24, Crusaders / Tasman, new cap)
  • Patrick Tuipulotu (27, Blues / Auckland, 30)
  • Tupou Vaa’i (20, Chiefs / Taranaki, new cap)
  • Samuel Whitelock (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 117)

Loose Forwards

  • Sam Cane (28, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 68) – captain
  • Shannon Frizell (26, Highlanders / Tasman, 9)
  • Cullen Grace (20, Crusaders / Canterbury, new cap)
  • Akira Ioane (25, Blues / Auckland, uncapped, one match)
  • Dalton Papalii (22, Blues / Auckland, 3)
  • Ardie Savea (26, Hurricanes / Wellington, 44)
  • Hoskins Sotutu (22, Blues / Auckland, new cap)

Halfbacks

  • TJ Perenara (28, Hurricanes / Wellington, 64)
  • Aaron Smith (31, Highlanders / Manawatu, 92)
  • Brad Weber (29, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 5)

First five–eighths

  • Beauden Barrett (29, Blues / Taranaki, 84)
  • Richie Mo’unga (26, Crusaders / Canterbury, 17)

Midfielders

  • Braydon Ennor (23, Crusaders, Canterbury, 1)
  • Jack Goodhue (25, Crusaders / Northland, 13)
  • Rieko Ioane (23, Blues / Auckland, 29)
  • Anton Lienert-Brown (25, Chiefs / Waikato, 44)

Outside backs

  • Jordie Barrett (23, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 17)
  • George Bridge (25, Crusaders / Canterbury, 9)
  • Caleb Clarke (21, Blues / Auckland, new cap)
  • Will Jordan (22, Crusaders / Tasman, new cap)
  • Damian McKenzie (25, Chiefs / Waikato, 23)
  • Sevu Reece (23, Crusaders / Tasman, 7)
Note: no dates have yet been confirmed for any 2020 All Blacks test match fixtures.

 

“Main photo credit”


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