Rugby: Ben Smith backing Crusaders' Will Jordan for 'big things' with the All Blacks

  • 02/04/2021

All Blacks great Ben Smith has nailed his colours to the mast as to who New Zealand's starting fullback should be, talking up the prospects of Crusaders young gun Will Jordan.

The All Blacks' No.15 shirt has been a hot and occasionally problematic topic in recent time, with no apparent option as coach Ian Foster's go-to man. 

Since the start of 2019, Smith and Jordie Barrett have been deployed as specialist fullbacks, while the likes of Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie have also worn No.15 as part of the All Blacks' dual playmaker strategy.

And as conversation again moves towards who'll be the All Blacks' fullback in 2021, 84-test veteran Smith has made it clear that he's got high hopes for 23-year-old Crusaders flyer Jordan.

"Someone that I enjoy watching is Will Jordan," Smith told Stuff

"I just enjoy the way that he manages to pop up where he is needed.

"He's got a knack for just finding his way to the line.He's just someone that you turn the TV on and enjoy watching.

"I know that he's just starting out his career [but] for the All Blacks and the black jersey, he's going to do some big things in the next few years.

"You got snippets of him last year, getting opportunities, his opportunities will become more frequent going forwards."

Jordan has enjoyed a promising start to his career with the All Blacks, so far playing two tests and scoring two tries in last year's Rugby Championship. 

Elsewhere, Smith also weighed in on the future of rugby in the southern hemisphere, with no certainty of reigning world champions South Africa in Super Rugby.

"The whole time I was playing Super Rugby it was awesome to test yourself against the South African Super Rugby teams," he adds.

"Having New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina in the competition, it also brought a different perspective on how they played rugby.

"As a player we always enjoyed those battles against South African Super sides."

Smith, 34, is currently playing in the Japanese Top League for Kobe Steelers, having left New Zealand after the 2019 World Cup, where the All Blacks finished third.