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    Coetzee heaps praise on De Allende

    2015-03-12 09:11

    Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has been impressed with centre Damian de Allende’s performances during the opening rounds of Super Rugby this season.

    The Stormers have been the surprise packages this season as they have won all four of their Super Rugby fixtures so far, beating the Bulls, Blues, Lions and Sharks. These results have seen the Cape side secure top spot in the South African conference and overall tournament standings.

    Despite having a young squad, the Stormers have risen to the occasion, delivering solid performances and turning their opportunities and pressure into points to secure these victories.

    While Coetzee noted that it has been a huge team effort, he also recognised the valuable contributions from De Allende, who has been one of the star performers this year.

    “At the start of the season, people questioned the selection of Damian at inside centre. However, he has proven these critics wrong as he has done very well there,” Coetzee told

    “He’s been outstanding in the No 12 jersey, making a big impact on attack and defence, proving to be powerful with the ball in hand and making big tackles. A big reason for his improvement is his improved fitness and conditioning after working hard during the off-season and pre-season. He’s stronger than before.

    “We do have a young squad, but our senior players have stood up and played a big role for the team, like Duane Vermeulen, Juan de Jongh and Damian.”

    Looking ahead to their next Super Rugby match, the Stormers face the Chiefs at Newlands on Saturday.

    The 2013 Super Rugby champions will provide a massive challenge, but Coetzee believes his troops can continue their winning form if they build on their form and intensity.

    “There’s no doubt that the Chiefs match is a big game. We will need to plan well,” said Coetzee. “We need to pitch up and show the same intensity we have produced so far. That’s a big reason why we have won four games so far, which has given us a major psychological boost.

    “It’s also great to play the match at Newlands. Against the Sharks, we played in front of a crowd of over 40 000 fans. And that gives the players plenty of motivation. It’s always a special occasion to play at Newlands.”

    Saturday’s clash kicks off at 15:00.

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