Springbok centre Damian de Allende has opened up on being overwhelmed by South Africa’s reaction to their 2019 World Cup win.
De Allende was speaking in his first interview for the Munster website since arriving at the Irish PRO14 side from Japanese side Panasonic Wild Knights.
The 28-year-old was a key performer in the Springboks’ title charge in Japan, making seven appearances and scoring twice in the tournament, including a crucial try in the semi-final victory over Wales.
Despite the fact that it has been over eight months since the famous 2 November win against England in Yokohama, De Allende said the gravity of the Springboks’ achievement still hasn’t sunken in yet.
‘I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,’ De Allende said. ‘I think it will only sink in over the next few years or maybe only after I am done with rugby. I don’t think we realised at the time what we did for our country. It was awesome to win the World Cup and then go and celebrate my brother’s wedding as well.’
The win sparked massive scenes of celebration as the Springboks took the Webb Ellis trophy on a countrywide tour of South Africa, with major cities and townships alike coming to a standstill as crowds clamoured to see their heroes.
For De Allende, it was the final leg of the tour in his home town that made him emotional.
‘I have never seen Cape Town like that before. I think I cried five or six times in the bus because it was just a bit overwhelming,’ De Allende said.
‘It was a very good experience. It was something that I just can’t explain. It is something you have to experience first-hand.’