Crusaders blow as All Blacks try machine Jordan out for six months

golf20 February 2024 03:15| © AFP
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Will Jordan © Gallo Images

All Blacks try machine Will Jordan will be out for six months because of shoulder surgery, the Crusaders announced Tuesday, a blow to the defending Super Rugby champions on the eve of the new season.

Jordan, 25, who was the top try-scorer at last year's World Cup, needs an operation on a pre-existing injury and will miss the entire Super Rugby campaign that kicks off this week.

The Crusaders, under new head coach Rob Penney, start their bid for an eighth straight title away to the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday – a repeat of last year's Super Rugby final.

"It's tough for any team to lose a world-class player like Will Jordan," said Penney.

"He will be greatly missed."

Jordan is expected to return in "approximately six months", the Crusaders said in a statement, meaning the flying wing, who can also play full-back, looks certain also to be out of New Zealand's tests in July against England and Fiji.

It also puts a question mark over his participation in New Zealand's Rugby Championship matches in August and September.

The prolific Jordan has scored 31 tries in as many tests for New Zealand and touched down eight times in France 2023, including a hat-trick in the semifinal win over Argentina.

New Zealand went on to lose 12-11 to South Africa in the World Cup final.

It was the second major injury blow to the Christchurch-based Crusaders, who have lost British and Irish Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny for up to four months with a torn pectoral muscle.

The season opener in Hamilton will be Penney's first game in charge after replacing Scott Robertson, who left to coach the All Blacks after leading the Crusaders to seven consecutive Super Rugby titles since 2017.