Springbok centre Damian de Allende says the free time during the Covid-19 lockdown has allowed him to appreciate the team’s 2019 World Cup win.
De Allende returned after the team’s cross-country trophy tour to play for the Panasonic Wild Knights in the Top League.
However, the league was cut short after just six rounds when the Japanese Rugby Union decided to cancel the season.
De Allende has since been among the South Africans – like Bok teammate Malcolm Marx – left stranded in Japan. He tried to catch a flight back home as soon as the cancellation was announced, but by that stage planes were already grounded due to the lockdown in South Africa.
The 28-year-old is, however, taking the positives from his situation and told Netwerk24 that he has only now been able to fully digest the events of 2019.
‘Time flies during a World Cup tournament and it had really not sunk in just how we won it,’ De Allende said. ‘Now I’ve had a chance to reflect on it all and I have a huge smile on my face whenever they show some highlights on TV.
‘I’m very proud of what we as a team achieved. Not just for ourselves, but for our country.’
De Allende was a key member of the title charge, no less than when he powered through Wales’ defence to score a crucial try in the 19-16 semi-final win in Yokohama.
‘The only thing I remember is that we had a penalty advantage,’ he recalled. ‘I saw how Willie le Roux came in off the right hand side to create vital space in the line for us.
‘When he sees a chance, he always does the best he can to take advantage of it. I just remember getting the ball, trying to use my feet and when I looked up I was dotting down for the try.
‘It was wonderful to stand there as my teammates all congratulated me. A special memory,’ he added.
‘Everything happens so quickly at a World Cup that you almost forget. But having a chance to sit down and reflect, the memories come flooding back.’
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