One of the best – Munster hope to keep De Allende

Munster head coach Johann van Graan says the club is working to extend Damian de Allende’s contract as the Springbok centre prepares for his return from Test rugby this coming weekend.

De Allende is set to make his first appearance in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship against Ospreys in Swansea on Saturday after returning to training following a busy Test calender with the Springboks.

The 29-year-old was sensational in his first season with Munster in 2020, but is now into the final year of his deal with the club.

“He’s definitely part of our plans, but I’ve never discussed contract negotiations [publicly],” said Van Graan said.

“We really rate ‘Doogz’, he’s one of the very best and the future will tell what happens and, as per any player, once we have any announcement to make, we’ll do it some way in the future.

“He’s one of the best players in the world, so that’s great that one of the best players in the world is playing for Munster, so that’s our ambition. We’ll certainly work together with Munster and the IRFU to look at our options.”

De Allende has been away on Springbok duty since June, playing in the British & Irish Lions series and then in the Rugby Championship.

He has been retained in the Springbok squad for the November Tests against Wales, Scotland and England and will link up with the team when the Test window opens on 31 October.

Van Graan said he expects the inside centre to play a crucial role in his team’s URC charge for the rest of the season.

“Damian is a world-class player, I think everybody knows that,” said Van Graan.

“You just have to look at his performance in that last Test for South Africa against the All Blacks and how good he was – whether it is in carrying or tackling or post-contact skills, his decision-making. That’s why we signed him and why he’s such a big part of our plans.

“He’ll be raring to go. Obviously, we’ve got one game this week and we’re into a bit of a break and, if selected for South Africa [which happened], he’s got another week off before he joins them, and then after the November internationals, he’ll be with us until June which will be brilliant.

“The positive out of that is that once the Irish national players go to the Six Nations we have Damian available, which is a big positive for us.”

Photo: Getty Images

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