‘Perfect combination’ – All Blacks and New Zealand discovers the perfect blend of talents and group of prolific try-scorers in rugby history …

Will Jordan has entered an exclusive group of prolific try-scorers in rugby history as New Zealand discovered the perfect blend of talent.

The remarkably agile winger achieved a hat-trick against Argentina, elevating him to the company of rugby legends such as Jonah Lomu, Bryan Habana, and Julian Savea, all of whom have scored a record eight tries in a single men’s tournament.

Although the World Cup semi-final between New Zealand and Argentina might not be remembered as a classic contest, it will forever hold a special place in Will Jordan’s heart. It’s the night he joined the ranks of try-scoring greats, and he could have even surpassed them if not for a crucial missed opportunity.

In Paris, Jordan’s hat-trick made him the fourth member of this elite club, alongside Bryan Habana, Julian Savea, and Jonah Lomu. With 31 tries in 30 Tests, there’s a strong likelihood that he will eventually break the record in the final match.

Had Richie Mo’unga chosen to pass instead of dummy, Jordan would have already achieved the record. Late in the game at the Stade de France, with the outcome well-decided and New Zealand playing with 14 men to display their dominance, Jordan had a clear path to the try line as the Argentine defense was narrow. But his fly half ignored him and pursued a try of his own, leaving Jordan with arms and mouth wide open in disbelief.

While the victory was built on the strength of the forward pack, the dynamic and versatile back three, consisting of Mark Tele’a, Beauden Barrett, and Jordan, caught the eye. These three players possessed complementary skills, excelling under high balls while bringing unique qualities to their ball-handling game.

New Zealand’s head coach, Ian Foster, praised the combination of Jordan and Tele’a and highlighted Barrett as the linchpin connecting them. This trio was performing well, and their synergy would be crucial in the upcoming final.

What’s remarkable about Jordan is that his exceptional abilities don’t necessarily stand out physically. Many other wingers possess more obvious physical gifts, but Jordan, at 25 years old, possesses a unique grace and the ability to glide effortlessly on the field. He’s not just a try poacher; he often plays a role as a playmaker in New Zealand’s versatile backline.

Jordan’s opponent, Argentina wing Mateo Carreras, acknowledged his exceptional work rate and versatility, describing him as a top-class player.

In the semi-final, two of Jordan’s three tries were relatively straightforward, but the third showcased his brilliance. Starting from the edge of New Zealand’s 22, he expertly took a pass and navigated through the Argentine defense, using the outside of his boot to nudge the ball over the final defender. This maneuver allowed for an uncontested collection and an impressive finish, marking his 31st try. Among male players, only Japan’s Daisuke Ohata has scored more tries in their first 30 international appearances, albeit against weaker opposition.

Looking at the list of top career try-scorers for the All Blacks, it’s evident that wings tend to have a fast-scoring start to their Test careers but often fade sooner than players in other positions. However, Jordan’s success appears sustainable, even when playing away from his preferred position as a full-back. He is on track to break Doug Howlett’s All Black record of 49 tries, especially with the eldest Barrett brother heading to Japan.

As they await the final opponent between England and South Africa, New Zealand is focused on sustaining the high level of performance they’ve displayed in the last two weeks. The dream of winning the World Cup is very much alive for the All Blacks, and they are determined to seize that opportunity.

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