WATCH: Reunited with Jesse Kriel, Springbok stalwart Damian de Allende raring to go

FILE - Damian de Allende in action for the Springboks. Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP

FILE - Damian de Allende in action for the Springboks. Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP

Published Jul 26, 2023


At the 2015 World Cup in England, Springbok captain Jean de Villiers admitted he was feeling the heat from the up-and-coming centre Damian de Allende and he predicted a bright future for the sturdy youngster from the Cape.

De Villiers clearly has a good eye for talent and De Allende, in fact, replaced De Villiers when the latter broke his jaw midway through that World Cup.

Some 70 Tests later for the Springboks, De Allende is an institution in the Bok No 12 jersey and he and Lukhanyo Am have played 28 Tests as a midfield partnership. That is one shy of the Springbok record set by De Villiers and Jaque Fourie.

De Allende made his debut in 2014 against Argentina and nine years later, on the eve of playing Argentina, he remarked on how fortunate he has been to have partnered with De Villiers, Am and Jesse Kriel.

“I’m incredibly lucky,” De Allende said ahead of Saturday’s Rugby Championship finale at Ellis Park. He will be partnered this time by Kriel, with Am playing off the bench.

“I always look forward to the challenge, whether I’m playing with Jesse or Lukhanyo, or if I have to play at 13 and Andre (Esterhuizen) has to play at 12. I think the way the four of us put each other under pressure at training, and teach each other, goes a long way.”

“I’m happy for Jesse. It is his first start of the season and he was unlucky to not be up for selection against Australia because of a red card incident in Japan, but he’s been doing well in training. I know he’s raring to go,” said De Allende.

De Allende also plies his trade in Japan after having had stellar careers at the Stormers and Munster. He said the Bok coaching staff have been shrewd in the way they have given game time to the greater squad over the three Rugby Championship matches.

“You can train for a year and not play rugby — the only way you can get match fit is by playing consistently,” he pointed out.

“It’s about trying to find that balance and getting everyone enough minutes so that when we start at the World Cup we can fire, not just as individuals, but as a whole squad.”

IOL Sport