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Generational Legacy: Jordi Viljoen's Historic Start with the Hurricanes

Generational Legacy: Jordi Viljoen's Historic Start with the Hurricanes

All BlacksFebruary 28, 2024

Little doubt existed that he would make the most of it once Jordi Viljoen got a chance with the Hurricanes in DHL Super Rugby Pacific.

A Hurricanes Wider Training Group squad member, he was named to make a starting debut against the Force in Perth and celebrated it with a try. He joined the Hurricanes on a National Development Contract last year and has relished working among the side's other halfbacks TJ Perenara, Cam Roigard and Richard Judd.

"Right now I am trying to learn as much as I can. I ask a lot of questions and they are alwahs there to help me. The great thing is we all have the same common goal to win a competition for the Hurricanes."

Viljoen said his debut was a special moment for his family to have him follow in his father's [Joggie Viljoen] footsteps, and also those of his grandfather, six-Test Springbok also Joggie Viljoen – all of them halfbacks.

The South African connection with the side started when his father, Joggie, came to New Zealand and played two seasons with Northland in the NPC in 1999-2000, playing seven games for the Hurricanes in 2000. He returned with his family and played in Manawatu in 2007-08. He also made three appearances for South Africa.

Viljoen, the youngest, said it has been his dream to play for the All Blacks since coming to New Zealand.

"New Zealand cared for me a lot and gave me all the opportunities in rugby, and I live a safe and happy life."

Part of his development has been his good connection with former All Blacks great Aaron Smith.

Moments you might have missed from the weekend 🕵️#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/GjWoJLC7wF

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) February 26, 2024

While at Feilding Agricultural High School, Smith received coaching from Viljoen's father, and the family had established a close bond with him.

Viljoen played for New Zealand Under-19 on their South African tour in 2022 and last year was a member of the New Zealand Under-20 side, appearing in four games.

Assistant coach Tyler Blyendaal said the win over the Force was pleasing, and it was good to see some growth from their pre-season games. He was also delighted that Viljoen made the most of his starting chance and had played well.

But with the competition among the halfbacks, the expectation is that players will always grow their game and contribute to all the parts of the week.

"That's his challenge now. He'll get his opportunity. It could be next week or in the future, but he'll be ready.

"He's a diligent fellow. Even though he's young, he loves to work hard and he's keen on growing his knowledge and his game."

He said having a tour to start the season was good because they had a lot of time together off the field and connected around rugby.

"We've just got to keep that drive to improve with our rugby, detail and skills.

"Connection in the squad is really good at the moment between players, and management and among the management as well."

Now, their task was to prepare for the Reds in Melbourne. They performed well in their opening win over the Waratahs. They looked to be driving more, playing with speed and using their good athletes across the park.

"They're impressive, so we're going to have to have a really good week of preparation."

The ladder after the weekend 🪜

Where is your team sitting after round one's action?#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/b8RwqSBdHu

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) February 25, 2024

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