Rugby Championship

Nonu: De Allende not a bad tackler

2015-07-24 18:00
Damian de Allende (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - All Black centre Ma’a Nonu believes Damian de Allende’s poor defensive record isn’t an accurate summary of the player’s worth.

Springbok and Stormers centre De Allende was one of the standout performers during Super Rugby this season. This has earned him a staring berth at inside centre for the Springbok team this year.

However, despite his notable form this year, there are concerns around his poor defensive record. During Super Rugby, he featured as one of the players who missed the most tackles, while he also committed a few errors on defence against the World XV and Wallabies, which is worrying for a No 12 - a key defensive position in the backline.

Nonu, who will be De Allende’s opposite number when the Springboks face the All Blacks on Saturday, argued that De Allende is better than the statistics suggest.

“Stats don’t always tell the full story. In fact, I’m quite surprised by those numbers. I don’t agree with them at all,” Nonu told MyPlayers.co.za.

“I believe Damian de Allende is a very good defender. Whether it’s for the Stormers or the Springboks, he makes a physical impact on attack and defence. He makes some big tackles.

“Back at the Highlanders, I remember when we prepared for our game against the Stormers, we placed a lot of emphasis on the threat Damian bring to the game.

“He’s a very big and strong No 12, and he’s been playing very well. That’s why you’ll find him playing inside centre for the Springboks this year.”

Saturday’s Test kicks off at 17:05.

Teams:

South Africa:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger (captain), 7 Francois Louw, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Lionel Mapoe

New Zealand:

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Victor Vito, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa

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