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The Roar


'Player of the future': Jones' praise for Gordon as Horan calls on young gun to start for Wallabies

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8th July, 2023
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Two-time World Cup winner Tim Horan has called on Eddie Jones to name Carter Gordon in the No.10 jersey against Argentina next week in Sydney following a brief but stunning cameo against the Springboks.

The 22-year-old playmaker came off the bench in Pretoria and scored a stunning late try to help ease the pain of a dreadful first-up showing under Jones against the Springboks, as the Wallabies were smashed 43-12 in their Rugby Championship opener.

Seeing space on the fringes, Gordon, who came on for Quade Cooper in the 69th minute, put a neat grubber in behind the Springboks defence inside his own 22 metre line for Marika Koroibete, who in turn passed the ball back inside for his playmaker to step back off his left foot and run 60 metres to score.

It was another piece of individual brilliance from Gordon, who showed off his impressive skill set right throughout the Super Rugby season.

“Nice play from Carter Gordon,” Horan said in commentary for Stan.

“He sparked a bit in the last 10 minutes since coming off the bench.

“I think he’s got to start next week against Argentina.


“Out of hand passes since he’s been on the field. Yes, it’s been late in the game, but he’s certainly made that little bit of difference to the width of the Wallabies.”

Gordon, who described making his debut as a “dream come true” and a “privilege”, said the moment was simply down to being in a position to try something.

“We were chasing the game, so we had to push our luck a little bit and try and throw the ball around and find some space,” he said.

“The crowd’s the loudest I’ve ever been in. It was really hard to get some comms in when they were screaming, but it was unreal.”

Jones, who told reporters at a gathering in Sydney in June that Gordon reminded him of former Springboks World Cup winner Butch James, was impressed by his first-up showing.

“Carter coming on in his first Test, in a difficult situation, showed he’s going to be a player of the future,” Jones said.


Tim Horan has called on Eddie Jones to start Carter Gordon (L) in the No.10 jersey against Argentina for the Wallabies’ second Rugby Championship Test. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Former Wallabies back-rower Stephen Hoiles said the Rebels playmaker was one of the positives coming out of a difficult night.

“A really nice touch from Carter Gordon on debut to not only be able to create this try but score it himself,” Hoiles said on Stan.

“That’s a confidence booster for him. There are always positives to take out of tough losses. It could have got it a lot worse.

“There’s a few guys who said ‘I’m ready for this level,’ Carter Gordon being one of them.”

Given the quick turnaround in Tests and long trip back across the Indian Ocean, Jones was always likely to make changes to his side to take on Michael Cheika’s Pumas for Saturday’s second Rugby Championship Test.

Whether or not one of those changes is in the No.10 jersey remains to be seen.


Gordon undoubtedly did his chances no harm, but Jones could just as easily decide to persist with Cooper in the No.10 jersey, particularly with the experienced playmaker only recently returning to the field and combinations and momentum imperative to quickly build. Then again, with recovery to be crucial, Jones could want to manage his load, too.

ddie Jones (coach) Australia during the Rugby Championship match between South Africa and Australia at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on July 08, 2023 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Eddie Jones has a lot to consider ahead of next week’s Test against Argentina in Sydney. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Cooper’s vision and skill set was also on display at times against the Springboks, with the playmaker throwing a stunning ball to Len Ikitau to help set up the Wallabies’ opening try.

But with the Wallabies’ pack dominated up front and at the set-piece, Cooper was always up against it with his side continually on the backfoot, as the missed tackles and errors mounted.

Nor did Cooper’s sliced kick out on the full from a line drop-out late in the match reflect well either.

With the Wallabies to play just another four Tests ahead of their World Cup opener against Georgia in Paris, Jones must weigh up how to balance giving minutes to players and trying to settle on combinations.


At least he knows he has a great young option in Gordon, who took his first chance with both hands.