Jean de Villiers says there is no reason to believe Damian de Allende is slowing down in the wake of the Springbok’s recent excellent performances for Munster. DYLAN JACK reports.
Having played alongside De Villiers during the initial stages of his Stormers and Bok career, De Allende has followed a similar career path to his predecessor by joining Munster after winning the 2019 World Cup.
The 30-year-old returned from injury during Munster’s tour of South Africa in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship and has been in sensational form since, and recently scored a decisive try against Exeter Chiefs to help Munster progress to the European Champions Cup quarter-finals.
During a wide-ranging URC round-table discussion with former Scotland lock Jim Hamilton, De Villiers was asked for his thoughts about De Allende’s progress.
“There is no doubt that he is definitely the second-best South African centre to have played for Munster,” said De Villiers with a smirk.
“When he started at the Stormers and the Boks, he was crucified at times for the way that he played and for only being an abrasive midfielder. Playing with him back then, in a way he was boxed in because of the skill set that he actually has.”
“In the last couple of years, he has just been phenomenal in the way he has played for Munster and the value for the Springboks has just been amazing,” the former Bok skipper added. “He was probably among the top-three players for South Africa at the World Cup. His consistency even after that has just been immense.
“His distributing skills as a 12 really is fantastic. His defensive skills, he is like a loose forward in midfield, being able to tackle; he hardly misses a tackle and he is so good on the ground competing as well. That creates slow ball for the opposition and makes defence through phases easier.
“I have only got respect for Damian for what he has achieved and how he has improved his game. At this stage, there is no reason why he should be slowing down. He was phenomenal over the weekend again, great performance. In terms of what he offers the Springboks, he is critical for the success of the Boks and his partnership with Lukhanyo Am has been phenomenal as well.”
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