De Allende in deep waters

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 16:40
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Stormers rookie Damian de Allende’s second Super Rugby assignment on Saturday will be a significantly greater challenge than his first.

Stormers rookie Damian de Allende’s second Super Rugby assignment on Saturday will be a significantly greater challenge than his first.

The 21-year-old centre experienced a baptism of fire in his Super Rugby debut against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld last week, going head-to-head with Super Rugby centurion and Springbok midfielder Wynand Olivier.

De Allende’s Super Rugby ‘initiation’ will be stepped up a gear this weekend when he collides with Sharks captain and World Cup-winning Springbok Frans Steyn.
 
De Allende’s centre partner, Stormers and Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers, urged the greenhorn to embrace the challenge that awaits him in Durban.

“He’s an exciting player and what he does he does pretty well but I think last weekend he realised that the step up from Currie Cup to Super Rugby is a big step,” said De Villiers.

“The test this week is even bigger, playing against Frans. If you want to get to the top and be the best in your position you want to test yourself against the best and that’s the situation he’ll be in this weekend.”

De Villiers added that he will continue giving guidance to De Allende but said the youngster will have to face the positional battle head on.

“We won’t be swapping too much on first phase,” he said.

“We’ve changed our approach this year in that we don’t want to be spoon feeding each other anymore. When you get selected you take that responsibility. It means you’re good enough.

“The more senior guys will help where we can but at the end of the day each guy is responsible for his job on the field. I’m very confident that the guys in that position will do their job and be fine on Saturday.”

At 100kg and 1.89m, De Allende has the physical attributes to stand up to Steyn. After only taking up the game at 14, he has carved out a reputation as a hard-running centre with a solid distribution game and has a Currie Cup winner’s medal to his name.

The Stormers have not suffered back-to-back defeats since 2011 - when they succumbed 14-20 to the Crusaders and 23-30 to the Chiefs in consecutive weeks - and are the two-time defending South African Conference champions.

De Villiers said the team pride themselves on their consistency and will look to uphold the standard they have set in recent seasons following the 17-25 loss to the Bulls.

“We’ve performed well over the last couple of years and we wouldn’t want that standard to drop. For someone like me who’s been here for quite a while it took us a while to get to the standard up to where it is now. It’s much easier to drop it than to get it back to the top,” he said.  

De Villiers said they let themselves down at Loftus Versfeld and will need to switch on mentally to return to their winning ways at Kings Park.

“We need to come into the game with the right frame of mind, knowing what to do to win up there and executing that. Sometimes you lose a game against a better side and sometimes you lose a game because you didn’t pitch - we didn’t pitch.

“That will never be acceptable. Losing will never be acceptable, but the manner in which we played was the most disappointing part of that game.”

He said the added pressure the team are under this season won’t impact their performance on the field.

“The pressure will always be there and the expectations are higher this year. Last year we were under pressure because we didn’t score enough tries, this year we are under pressure because we have a good squad and we’re not winning.

“At the end of the day you need to go out and perform. We’re working towards playing better rugby and get a campaign going that’s acceptable to us as players.”

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10