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.
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
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
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