In the build up to next week’s Rugby Championship clash between the Springboks and All Blacks at Mbombela Stadium, DEVIN HERMANUS previews the midfield duel.
Damian de Allende vs David Havili
De Allende has made the Springbok No 12 jersey his own despite fierce competition, thanks in no small part to his potent mix of physicality and skill.
What were once considered as weaknesses – his tendency to carry the ball into contact and get involved at the breakdown – have been turned into the strengths that make him one of the world’s best in his position.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 28, 2019
Havili earned an All Blacks recall in 2021 following a four-year hiatus from international rugby, based on the fullback-turned-midfielder’s ability to marry exceptional game management with suffocating defence.
Yet, it will take all of his guile and experience to hold off the challenge from former blockbusting league star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
David Havili ?
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) September 5, 2021
Lukhanyo Am vs Rieko Ioane
Currently regarded as the most complete outside centre in the sport, Am is composed and calculated in everything he does.
There is mongrel in the way he attacks and defends, menace in the way he finishes tries, and always something magical in the way he takes the ball to the line.
Making that 13 jersey his own ??
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) June 28, 2022
Ioane is one of the most dangerous backs in the world, with nitrous in his boots and a radar lock on any intercept opportunity.
But, since shifting from wing to centre, he has boned up on his tackling and started to develop a habit of making decisive defensive plays.
? Happy 22nd birthday to Rieko Ioane! To celebrate, sit back and watch the 11 tries he scored for the All Blacks in 2018! pic.twitter.com/Ie0KW8J4o3
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) March 17, 2019
Photo: Morgan Treacy/BackpagePix