All Blacks star Will Jordan has named Ireland’s James Lowe among the five best players he faced in 2021.
Jordan made his international debut in November last year, but already he has become a key player for New Zealand, having scored a remarkable 15 tries in 11 test matches this year.
His try-scoring exploits saw him win the World Rugby breakthrough player of the year award, to cap off a fine season on a personal level, in what was a somewhat underwhelming year for the All Blacks.
Jordan was speaking on former Hurricanes player James Marshall’s What A Lad podcast and named two Springboks, two French players and one Ireland international among the five best players he faced this year.
Will Jordan names the five best players he came up against in test rugby this year.
“I thought initially, when you ran out against the South Africans, it was like, ‘They’re big boys, a big dominant pack.’ I thought a couple of their forwards like [Eben] Etzebeth and [Siya] Kolisi, they were just physical specimens,” Jordan explained.
“I’ll give a shoutout to another What A Lad, James Lowe. 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, [Antoine] Dupont and [Romain] Ntamack. Two sort of young-ish guys, they had a pretty strong performance against us and pulled the strings well.”
— James Marshall (@JimiMar) December 5, 2021
South Africa, Ireland and France all recorded wins against the All Blacks.
The five players chosen by Jordan come from the three teams that beat New Zealand this year, in South Africa, Ireland and France.
The All Blacks started the year on a positive note, as they won their first nine test matches of the year, although their last six matches of the year saw New Zealand fall to three defeats.
The Springboks claimed a narrow victory against their old rivals in the final round of the Rugby Championship, but the losses to Ireland and France will give All Blacks head coach Ian Foster more to worry about, as his side were well beaten by both.
It is possible that the All Blacks were suffering from considerable fatigue, having been on the road for three months, but the manner in which they lost to Ireland and France has set off alarm bells in New Zealand.