Newcomer Jordi Viljoen bucks Springbok family tradition for All Blacks dream

Newcomer Jordi Viljoen bucks Springbok family tradition for All Blacks dream

Jordi Viljoen has Green and Gold blood coursing through his veins, but the scrumhalf has revealed his international ambitions lie with the All Blacks.

Jordi is the son of ex-Springboks scrumhalf Joggie Viljoen jnr. and the grandson of Joggie Viljoen snr, who also represented South Africa back in the 70s.

However, the 20-year-old is not looking to follow the family tradition of playing for the Boks and has plans to pull on the black jersey instead after a barnstorming Super Rugby debut for the Hurricanes.

Born in South Africa, Jordi was just a toddler when the family moved to New Zealand when his father joined Manawatu in 2007 after a stint with the Hurricanes in 2000.

After representing New Zealand u20s last year at the U20 World Rugby Championship, Viljoen was included in the Hurricanes wider squad for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season and was a surprise inclusion in the starting lineup for their opening game against the Western Force.

He was handed the starting jumper in his first game, ahead of All Blacks number nine Cam Roigard, who was included on the bench and scored his first try for the side that his father represented.

"A lot of joy and happy emotion getting to run out for my first time. Starting as well, you never really expect it on debut and just super grateful," Viljoen told RNZ.

"Very special for my family, especially Dad playing for the same club. Everyone stayed up late to watch the game, so super happy."

After getting his first taste of Super Rugby, the halfback confirmed that he would not follow his father and grandfather's footsteps.

"100% I'd love to play for the All Blacks," he said.

"It's been a dream ever since moving here. New Zealand has given me a lot of opportunities in terms of rugby and living a safe and happy life to be honest."

To get to that level, Viljoen has plenty of competition to swat off to catch new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson's eye, with TJ Perenara and Roigard in the Hurricanes squad before even looking elsewhere in New Zealand.

However, he will be able to fall back on some advice from Aaron Smith, who is a family friend.

"I always had a really good family connection with Aaron Smith," he explained.

"When Nuggy (Smith) was at Fielding Ag [Fielding High School] and ManawatÃ…«, my dad would take him for training, and we were really close with their family, and we have a personal bond."

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