Will Jordan is set to miss the start of the Crusaders’ Super Rugby Pacific campaign due to an issue which has kept him on the sidelines since last season.
The utility back was ruled out of New Zealand’s 2022 end-of-year tour to the northern hemisphere due to what the All Blacks called an “inner ear issue”, but it has now been diagnosed as a “migraine-related condition”.
The Crusaders will start the defence of their Super Rugby Pacific title against the Chiefs in Christchurch on Friday, February 24.
Uncertainty over return
Their head coach, Scott Robertson, gave an update on Jordan‘s condition on Tuesday and revealed that there is uncertainty about the exact time frame of his return.
“It is a migraine; it’s not concussion based,” Robertson told Stuff. “It’s a day-to-day thing with him. He trains with us regularly, and a lot of the conversations he has with the medical group are around how he’s improving, and he’s trending up.
“When he’s back, we’re unsure. We’ll work with him and the medical group as best we can.
“I can’t give heaps of insight [into what he’s going through]. There’s a lot of medical privacy in that. The point of view is he’s tracking really well. He’s still got some touch in him, he’s made a couple of line-breaks at training, and he’s still got that side of it.
“His confidence is improving, and it’s exciting for him; he’s trending up.”
In 2018, Jordan was ruled out with a similar injury, and the Crusaders struggled to determine why he was not at full fitness.
Eventually, their medical team determined it wasn’t due to a head knock he sustained while playing for Tasman during the NPC but rather an inner-ear issue, which led to vertigo and vision impairment.
The 24-year-old’s injury means the Crusaders will have to find a full-back, but who wears the number 15 during his absence is not so clear-cut after veteran outside back George Bridge joined Top 14 outfit Montpellier.
They could move inside centre David Havili to full-back, where he spent most of the early part of his career, especially with fellow All Blacks midfielder Jack Goodhue being fit again.
Chay Fihaki favourite to start at 15
However, young utility back Chay Fihaki is the favourite to start in the number 15 jersey, as he has played in that position for the Crusaders before.
Former Blues utility back Melani Nanai and New Zealand U20 full-back Macca Springer are also options for Robertson.
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