Cape Town - The duel at wing between Damian de Allende and Willie le Roux promises to be an intriguing one at Newlands on Saturday.
De Allende, 22, is the talk of Cape Town after his inclusion in Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s training squad earlier this week. His versatility and size (1.93m and 103kg) could count in his favour when it comes to Test selection.
On Saturday, De Allende, normally a centre, is back on the right wing when the Stormers host the Cheetahs (kick-off at 17:05), and his direct opponent in the Cheetahs No 11 jersey will be the 24-year-old Le Roux, who has been in red-hot form of late.
Le Roux is sure to again test the Stormers' defence - as he did a few weeks back at the Free State Stadium when the Cheetahs beat the Stormers 35-22.
Le Roux was instrumental in a top-notch attacking performance which yielded five tries for the hosts, including one by the Springbok himself.
Le Roux’s name also pops up all over several key 2014 statistics revealed on SANZAR’s official website
before Round 15 of Super Rugby.
He has gained the most ground in Super Rugby this year with 958 metres run, made the third most offloads (19) and features in the Top 10 for line breaks made (11). He is also third on the list for most carries made (138), while his kicking game has also improved.
De Allende, on the other hand, is a more physical player who attacks the gainline with sheer ferocity. He is bigger than the 1.86m and 90kg Le Roux and his ability to bust tackles has set him apart in the competition this year.
It is interesting to note that De Allende has beaten more defenders than any South African player in Super Rugby this year.
His 31 tackle busts puts him in eighth spot on the 'Defenders Beaten' list, which is topped by Highlanders centre Malakai Fekitoa with 39. No other South Africans feature in the Top 10 in this category.
The battle between De Allende and Le Roux is no doubt one between two contrasting players, but it promises to be an enthralling one.
It is well known that Bok coach Meyer favours bigger, more physical players, and a strong performance by De Allende against Le Roux could be favourable for a Test call later this year.
Meyer will no doubt be keeping a watchful eye to see who comes out on top...Teams:Stormers
15. Jaco Taute, 14. Damian de Allende
, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen
, 7. Schalk Burger, 6. Nizaam Carr, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Michael Rhodes
, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Alistair Vermaak
Substitutes: 16. Stephan Coetzee, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Brok Harris
, 19. Jean Kleyn, 20. Siya Kolisi
, 21. Dylon Frylinck, 22. Peter Grant
, 23. Kobus van WykCheetahs
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Willie le Roux
, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Boela Serfontein, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen
, 2 Adriaan Strauss
(captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Carel Greeff, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Gouws Prinsloo