Rugby World Cup: The All Blacks have the most formidable wing partnership in the world…

In their semi-final match against Argentina, the All Blacks seemed to have found the missing pieces of their puzzle. Since their initial loss to France, it was clear that the All Blacks’ forward pack had been on a mission to transform into the dominant force they had hinted at during the Rugby Championship.

By the time they faced Ireland in the quarter-finals, the All Blacks had harnessed explosive power and mastered set-piece excellence, essential for competing at the highest level. The match against Ireland was a showcase of physicality, with fierce collisions, scrum dominance, precise breakdown work, clever lineouts, and overall outstanding performance by the All Blacks.

However, the most significant revelation in the semi-final was their dynamic wing duo, comprising Will Jordan and Mark Telea, who offered a deadly attacking threat on both flanks.

Argentina found themselves overwhelmed, struggling in scrums, mauls, and collisions. Just when they thought they had fortified their defenses in the middle of the field to resist the All Blacks’ forwards, the ball would swiftly find its way to the touchlines, where Telea or Jordan would carve through their defense.

It was a highly productive night for both All Blacks wingers. Telea, who had returned to the team after missing the quarter-final due to disciplinary reasons, played as if he needed to make amends.

He exhibited a unique blend of attributes, defying his size-to-power ratio. Despite not fitting the mold of a power winger at 1.85m and 99kg, Telea consistently evaded multiple tackles and powered through tight situations, often taking the ball close to the ruck and gaining valuable territory.

In a crucial moment close to halftime, Telea beat five defenders, setting up Shannon Frizell’s try and establishing a commanding lead for the All Blacks.

Will Jordan, while contributing to scoring records, sees his role differently. He values involvement in the game, supporting plays, and reading the flow of the match, rather than just scoring tries. He expressed humility at sharing the eight-try record with legends like Bryan Habana, Julian Savea, and Jonah Lomu, acknowledging their pioneering influence on the winger position.

The upcoming World Cup finals are expected to be tight and low-scoring affairs, emphasizing the defensive roles of Telea and Jordan, including fielding high balls, reading the opposition’s defensive strategies, and collaborating with fullback Beauden Barrett to create counterattacking opportunities.

Head coach Ian Foster has been strategically developing this back three combination since the Rugby Championship. He appreciates Telea’s effectiveness in challenging situations, Jordan’s ability to make unexpected impacts, and Barrett’s experience in guiding the two wingers.

Foster praised Telea’s performance in close-quarter scenarios and his defensive capabilities, while acknowledging Jordan’s prowess in finishing off scoring opportunities. The combination of Telea and Jordan has proven effective throughout the year, and Foster is pleased with the synergy among the players, with Barrett acting as the vital communicator and connector between them.

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