Why Bok is turning his back on Japan

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 09:59
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REACTION: Springbok centre Damian de Allende will not be earning any Japanese yen for the next two years.

The 24-year-old midfielder, who has earned 21 Test caps since debut in 2014, admitted that having played in Japan after the World Cup last year had a major impact on his form.

Apart from the serious ankle injury he picked up, which sidelined him for a sizeable chunk of the Super Rugby season, the burly midfielder admitted he played too much.

"I only had four days off [after the World Cup], then a I flew out to Japan," he told a media briefing in Florence - where the Boks are preparing for their Test against Italy on Saturday.

"I did not have a break at all last year, which is quite tough," De Allende added.

"I did enjoy my time in Japan, at the Kintetsu Liners."

However, he will now have a proper off-season after the November tour - which concludes with a Test against Wales in Cardiff next Saturday (November 26).

"I am not going back [to Japan] this year and I am not going back next year, as I am still contracted to the Springboks.

"Hopefully sometime in the future, I can go play there again.

"I also do need a good off-season, that is why I am not going back."

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De Allende said the ankle injury also contributed to his lack of form.

"It has been tough, I didn't think it would be that tough to get back from a big injury.

"However, as the year progressed I started getting better, especially on this year-end tour.

"I feel a lot more confident and positive, which is where I struggled in the [Rugby] Championship.

"I base a lot of my game on confidence.

"When I came into the set-up for the year-end tour I felt a lot more positive and relaxed. I enjoyed it a lot more, where [previously] I put a lot of pressure on myself.

"I also worked on my fitness a bit, which has helped quite a bit, so hopefully I can just carry on improving. Game time and fitness certainly helped.

"The games when I was left out of the [Rugby] Championship was the right thing, because I was not on form."