De Allende more than a battering ram
Cape Town - It may have come against the lowly Kings, but last weekend Damian de Allende showed some encouraging signs as the Stormers romped to a 52-24 win at Newlands.
The Springbok centre passed the ball 9 times and made 2 offloads in the match as he looked dangerous on attack whenever he got the ball.
De Allende, specifically when on international duty against Ireland last month, has been criticised of being too one-dimensional at times.
Over those three Tests Lionel Mapoe, playing outside De Allende, was starved of the ball.
But, against the Kings, Huw Jones went on to score four tries playing at No 13.
Coach Robbie Fleck says that, while it is obviously a good sign to see De Allende playing well again, his offloads and passes are not only his responsibility.
"With Damian I said to you guys that it would take a bit of
time. He came off a big injury," Fleck told media this week.
"This weekend (against the Kings) I felt that the communication in
the backline was excellent … and that alerts Damian to the fact that these guys
are in space.
"That allowed Damian to release his outside backs a little bit
more this weekend.
"He said to me personally that he felt the communication was
excellent and that allowed him to straighten the line and still look for that
Fleck said it was a combination of De Allende's strength with ball in hand and his distribution that made him such a quality player.
"What makes him dangerous is that he can get you over that advantage line
at any stage, even if there’s a brick wall in front of him, but he’s got that
ability to pass both sides," said Fleck.
"We haven’t seen it enough in South African rugby
but I can tell you that he can pass both ways exceptionally well and he can
offload in the tackle exceptionally well.
"I think it’s the guys around him who
need to operate a little bit better, to be honest."
The Stormers take on the Chiefs at Newlands on Saturday in the Super Rugby quarter-final.
Kickoff is at 19:00.