Will Jordan has included two senior Springboks among the five toughest opponents he faced while playing for the All Blacks this year.
The winger, who was recently crowned as World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year, scored 15 tries in 11 matches in his first full Test season.
Speaking on the What A Lad podcast, the 23-year-old singled out the five players he believed performed best against the All Blacks in 2021.
Not surprisingly, the players all hail from the three countries – South Africa, Ireland and France – that beat New Zealand this year.
While Jordan didn’t play in the All Blacks’ loss to the Boks, he was involved in the first Test fixture between them a week earlier and admitted to being intimidated by Siya Kolisi and Eben Etzebeth.
“I thought initially when you ran out against the South Africans, it was like, ‘They’re big boys, a big dominant pack’,” Jordan said. “I thought a couple of their forwards like Etzebeth and Kolisi, they were just physical specimens.”
The other three players he named were Ireland’s New Zealand-born wing James Lowe and France’s halfback pairing of Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack.
“I’ll give a shoutout to James Lowe,” Jordan said. “I thought in that game against us, he played very well, like we know he can, like he did in New Zealand for so long, but I thought he played really well, just his energy and stuff.
“Then probably the 9-10 combo for the French, Dupont and Ntamack. Two sort of youngish guys, they had a pretty strong performance against us and pulled the strings well.”