It will be Jordan to return the long-awaited Crusaders against the Western Force

Will Jordan Crusaders vs. Reds SRP 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Will Jordan Crusaders vs. Reds SRP 2022 – PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

All Blacks return Will Jordan will make his long-awaited return to action for the Crusaders when they face Western Force in Friday’s Super Rugby Pacific clash in Christchurch.

The 25-year-old has been battling an ongoing migraine-related illness which ruled him out of action from New Zealand’s final match of the 2022 Rugby Championship, against Australia in Auckland on 24 September.

Starting from behind

He starts at fullback for the Crusaders against Force and is joined by Leicester Fainga’anuku and Macca Springer who are starting wings.

Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson is excited about Jordan’s return and said it’s been a “significant six months for Will,” and everyone was “just happy for him.”

“He got better and better and picked up this game after having a good couple of weeks of training,” added Robertson. “He IS ready to play all 80 if necessary.”

Meanwhile, Robertson has made several changes to his squad following last weekend’s loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Veteran blocker Sam Whitelock was rested as a precautionary measure after injuring his Achilles tendon against the Chiefs, which means Quinten Strange moves into the starting lineup to pack alongside captain Scott Barrett in second row.

Elsewhere, Noah Hotham joins the matchday squad to start at scrum-half, while Mitchell Drummond will offer bench cover with Willi Heinz sidelined with a calf strain.

Robertson said: “Halfbacks, like front-rowers, are hard to come by – it’s a specialist position,” and the Crusaders coaching staff have been impressed with the 19-year-old’s performance so far this season.

Brodie McAlister takes her place as the titular hooker alongside Joe Moody and Tamaiti Williams who are the initial props.

First start of the season

It will be McAlister’s first start of the 2023 campaign which means All Black Codie Taylor takes to the bench.

Among the substitutes, Oli Jager continues as ringside cover after coming off the bench against the Chiefs last week to make his first appearance of the season. Zach Gallagher is also set to make an appearance as a second row backup.

Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Macca Springer, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Noah Hotham, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Dom Gardiner, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett (c), 3 Tamaiti Williams, 2 Brodie McAlister, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutions: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Seb Calder, 18 Oli Jager, 19 Zach Gallagher, 20 Christian Lio-Willie, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Fergus Burke, 23 Jack Goodhue

Date: Saturday 6 May
Place: Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
Kick off: 7.05pm local time (8.05am BST, 7.05am GMT)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Mabey (New Zealand), Marcus Playle (New Zealand)
TMO: to be confirmed

TO KNOW MORE: Anton Lienert-Brown: All Blacks centre-back after injury will play 100th match for Chiefs

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