‘No fluke’ – Will Jordan makes honest Springboks admission after ‘pretty weird’ Rugby World Cup final

Colin Newboult
Will Jordan in action for the All Blacks against the Springboks in the 2023 Rugby World Cup final.

Will Jordan in action for the All Blacks against the Springboks in the 2023 Rugby World Cup final.

All Blacks back Will Jordan was full of praise for the Springboks’ ability to eke out results as he reflected on their Rugby World Cup heartbreak.

South Africa became world champions for a record fourth time after they defeated Ian Foster’s men 12-11 in a tight final last October.

The Boks claimed one-point victories in all three of their knockout matches, overcoming France (29-28), England (16-15) and New Zealand on their journey to the Webb Ellis Cup.

It showed remarkable resilience and Jordan had nothing but admiration for Jacques Nienaber’s side, who became the second team after the All Blacks to defend the title.


“You’ve got to respect the Springboks’ ability to withstand pressure and pull out tight games. They won the quarter, semi and final all by one point, which some people might say is a bit of a fluke,” the 26-year-old told the What a Lad podcast.

“But it’s not. Good teams have an ability to win tight games. You’ve got to respect that.”

While the Springboks obviously revelled in their achievement, it was absolutely galling for Jordan and the All Blacks, who came so close to lifting the trophy.

“There are some moments in that game I look back on and am not fond of, or still keep me up at night a bit, but it’s one of those things where losing a World Cup final does hurt,” he said.

“I’m definitely not over it yet, there’s still a lot of thought that goes into it, but the beauty of footy is that it rolls on.”

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Unfortunately for the sidelined back three star that doesn’t apply to him, who joked while looking down at his arm sling that he hasn’t really had a chance to move on from that result.

“I thought the three-week break after the French game was bad, it’s another nine-month break after the World Cup final!” he said.

“I might have to play a game of touch or something to get some new memories!”

Jordan also discussed the final, delving into what his emotions were ahead of kick-off and how the game played out during the 80 minutes.

Nerves and cards

“There’s a few more straight nerves for that. It’s a World Cup final so there’s always going to be a bit of that,” he said.

“The game itself was a pretty weird game of footy to be honest. I remember in the first 20 minutes feeling under siege a bit.

“Shannon (Frizell) got yellowed, they kicked quite well and stuck us in our own half a lot. I felt like we couldn’t get anything going.

“The conditions were quite wet, which probably didn’t suit us. We stayed in it but in terms of ball handling and our skill set and stuff, we probably let ourselves down a little bit, so that was definitely frustrating.

“Obviously, there was Sammy’s (Sam Cane’s) red card and at that point we were maybe down 9-3. We got it back to 12-6 at half-time.

“We’re still on a bit of an uphill climb, playing with 14 men is obviously not easy, but there was also a bit of belief around what we had done at the back end of the half.

“The next 20 minutes from 40 to 60, we were really plugging away at their line, had the try disallowed and made a couple of errors right on the goal line.

“We then finally managed to score with Beaudy (Beauden Barrett) sliding in at the corner and all of a sudden it was 12-11. What had felt like a bit of an uphill task now felt pretty on.

“We always knew we could win it but now it was like we were just one more moment away from getting there. Unfortunately, that moment didn’t quite happen.”

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