Following an outstanding debut season in the ITM Cup which, despite being embroiled in controversy, helped cement Jordan Taufua’s name on the list of New Zealand’s most promising up-and-coming stars, the barn-storming loose-forward has been selected in Todd Blackadder’s Super XV squad ahead of the 2013 season.
Taufua moved to Christchurch to join the Lincoln University Academy, and quickly displayed the skills which saw him selected in the Junior All Blacks side which competed at the IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa last year.
He is a dynamic runner off the back of the scrum, and approaches every aspect of his game with total commitment and aggressive physicality. He was surprisingly released by Canterbury prior to the commencement of the 2012 ITM Cup, with the red and blacks favouring stalwart Nasi Manu and the up-and-coming Luke Whitelock.
On-loan to Tasman following that snub, Taufua’s form was compelling to say the least, and when an injury crisis struck Tabai Matson’s Cantabs late in the season they didn’t hesitate to recall Taufua, a decision which devastated the Makos coaching staff as they prepared for their own Semi-final play-off in the Championship against Otago, a game they would go on to lose.
Taufua will be sure to get considerable game time with the Crusaders this year, with Richie McCaw set to sit the campaign out, and Nasi Manu back at the Highlanders, where he traditionally plays his Super Rugby. Alongside the two Whitelock brothers and openside specialist Matt Todd, Blackadder’s resources in the loose look as strong as ever, even without the services of McCaw and fellow All Black star Kieran Read.