"He sees things in slow motion" - Will Jordan hailed by British press

Will Jordan 2

David Walsh of The Sunday Times said at the weekend that he had been keen to see if the 2023 version of the All Blacks had sorted themselves out after their bleak 2022 campaign.

"Had they ever! Not only did they win their three games in the truncated Rugby Championship, but their high-tempo rugby was the best we have seen from them since they stormed to the 2015 World Cup crown.

"They have found a couple of good props, settled on an excellent centre partnership in Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane, and Richie Mo'unga has stopped looking over his shoulder wondering if the coach is going to revert to Beauden Barrett at No 10 [first five-eighths].

"As for Will Jordan, I'm not sure there has ever been a smarter and more talented wing. He is lightning-quick and beautifully balanced. With the ball in his hands, he sees things as if in slow motion.

"Against South Africa in Auckland, he made two contributions in the first 15 minutes that, in effect, determined how the game would go. Less than five minutes had gone when he caught Beauden Barrett's high pass. Willie le Roux made a good tackle, taking Jordan by the ankles.

"As he hit the ground, Jordan got free of Le Roux's grasp, took his hands off the ball, instantly regathered and sprung to his feet. Makazole Mapimpi, Damian de Allende and Franco Mostert were coming his way, but Jordan swerved infield before straightening, wrong-footing all three defenders. He was gone before they could lay a hand on him.

"He drew Damian Willemse before sending Aaron Smith cantering to the tryline.

"Ten minutes later the All Blacks were being driven backwards at a ruck when Jordan took a short pass from Smith and knifed through the South Africa defence. The angle of the run, the instant acceleration and the pass to Codie Taylor were of the highest class. After that, the try for Shannon Frizell was straightforward."

Walsh said the influence of former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt in New Zealand's rejuvenation was evident, especially in the precision and speed of ruck ball.

"This was one of the pillars of Schmidt's Ireland team, who proved that if they could get fast ruck ball, they would eventually score tries."

Walsh added that lock Scott Barrett has stepped out of the shadow of his brothers Beauden and Jordie. His performances had been outstanding.

"His speed, footwork and ball-handling means he is perfect for the All Blacks' present approach."

His fitness compared to Australian Will Skelton was highlighted in the Melbourne Bledisloe Cup Test.

"There is no doubt Skelton is a formidable opponent, but it is also clear that size is what he has over every opponent. By playing at a high tempo and keeping the ball in play for almost 45 minutes, the All Blacks made things uncomfortable for Skelton. Really big men do not like being constantly on the go.

"Skelton was replaced after 47 minutes. Not so gargantuan, Scott Barrett stayed on the pitch for 80 minutes.

"Rugby will be a better game played the way the All Blacks now wish to play."


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