New Zealand’s victory over Argentina in the Rugby World Cup semi-final was not only an impressive display, but it was also tantalizingly close to marking a milestone in the tournament’s history. The Kiwis triumphed with a score of 44-6 in Paris, but the winning margin could have been more significant. Moreover, a chance to witness a new record in tournament try-scoring was missed in the dying moments of the game.
New Zealand’s intelligent use of the 50:22 rule granted them a lineout throw just five meters from the left, and in the game’s closing moments, they had a golden opportunity to break the World Cup record for tries scored in a single tournament. All Richie Mo’unga had to do was pass the ball to the open Will Jordan, who would have easily scored, setting a new tournament-high mark for tries.
However, rather than passing, in a two-on-one situation near the try line, Mo’unga opted to take the ball himself. He delivered a dummy pass towards Jordan and ran into contact, ultimately being tackled just a meter short of the try line.
The record for tries in a single tournament currently stands at eight, a feat shared by Jonah Lomu (1999), Bryan Habana (2007), and Julian Savea (2015). Jordan entered the semi-final with five tries and went on to score a hat-trick with tries in the 11th, 63rd, and 73rd minutes, bringing him level with these iconic names.
Caleb Clarke, another All Blacks winger, commented on the missed opportunity, saying, “We call him the Ferrari for a reason, you saw it there. He is a special player with special abilities. I really hope he breaks that eight.”
Will Jordan has accumulated an impressive tally of 31 tries in 30 Test matches, putting him in a prime position to break the World Cup record. His performances in France 2023 have been outstanding, with two tries against Italy, two against Uruguay, one against Ireland, and three against Argentina.
While Jordan has been captivating audiences with his exceptional performances, Caleb Clarke’s participation in the tournament has been limited to just two appearances. Despite this, Clarke remains focused on being himself and contributing to the team.
“One of the pillars in our team is just about being yourself. Everyone is just who they are. I’m an open guy,” Clarke said. “To be fair, I’m pretty much the one that annoys everyone. Everyone just accepts you as you are. In our environment, it’s about being who you are, and it’s about trying to get each other better.”
As the All Blacks prepare for the final against the Springboks, the spotlight is on Will Jordan, who is poised to etch his name in the World Cup record books. His potential to secure the record reflects the teamwork and determination of the entire New Zealand squad.
Jerome Kaino, another guest on The Big Jim Show Live, acknowledged Jordan’s talent and the unsung heroes who create opportunities for him. “For me, there are a lot of guys who aren’t really talked about in that All Blacks team who just work, notably Sam Cane, Ardie Savea, and Sam Whitelock. Those boys have really been putting in the yards,” Kaino said.