DUBLIN (STUFF NZ)—All Blacks wing Will Jordan has won World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year award.
The 23-year-old flyer beat out a field that included Australia’s Andrew Kellaway, Louis Rees-Zammit of Wales and England’s Marcus Smith after scoring a record 15 tries in just 11 tests this year.
Jordan, who only failed to score in two tests in 2021, crossed the line five times against Tonga and grabbed a hat-trick against USA on the way to becoming the second-fastest All Black to reach 15 tries.
But it wasn’t only his try-scoring exploits that saw him stand out, with Jordan impressing off the ball to unlock defences for teammates with regularity.
He is the third All Black to win the award after Nehe Milner-Skudder in 2015 and Rieko Ioane in 2017.
Meanwhile, All Blacks boss Ian Foster and New Zealand women’s sevens co-coaches Allan Bunting/Cory Sweeney missed out on the World Rugby Coach of the Year prize after England’s Simon Middleton created history.
Middleton became the first coach of a women’s team to win the prestigious award, having guided the Red Roses through a second successive calendar year unbeaten and 18 test wins in a row, including back-to-back record wins over the world champion Black Ferns in November.
Middleton, in his seventh year as England head coach, saw his side score 57 tries and concede only 10 in 2021 as they added another Women’s Six Nations title to their honours roll.
Another Kiwi, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie was also nominated for the award.
All Black Luke Jacobson (against Argentina on September 12) was pipped for the men’s Try of the Year by France Damian Penaud’s, who finished off a stunning all-round effort against Scotland in the Six Nations.
France also won the Women’s Try of the Year for Emilie Boulard’s scintillating play against Wales on 03 April.
More awards will be announced throughout the week, culminating on Friday with the men’s and women’s 15s players of the year….PACNEWS