Town - Damian de
Allende hasn't come anywhere near living up to the hype
that accompanied him in 2015.
In the build-up to that year's
World Cup, the now-26-year-old was considered one of Springbok coach Heyneke
Meyer's most dangerous weapons going into the tournament.
His hard, straight running was
the obvious standout feature of his game. That reputation came off the back of
a couple of big Super Rugby seasons where De Allende made a name for himself as
one of the hardest midfielders to bring down in world rugby.
Since then, though, he has moved
Much of it has had to do with
injury, with De Allende losing his edge on attack while all too often he has
also been found wanting defensively.
An ankle injury while on duty
with the Kintetsu Liners in Japan ruined the start of his 2016 season while
another ankle injury early last season meant that he missed the majority of the
2017 Super Rugby campaign too.
As a result, De Allende has
struggled to find any momentum over the past two years.
He was also, particularly after
2015, one of those players who had played seemingly non-stop rugby. Eventually,
he broke down.
It meant that De Allende
struggled to hold onto his No 12 Springbok jersey under Allister Coetzee, and
that was perhaps a sign of how far things had fallen.
Now, five rounds into the Super
Rugby season, things are looking up for De Allende.
It is early days yet, but
indications are that De Allende is finding his feet once more, which can only
be good news for the Stormers as well as the Springboks.
The secret, he says, is feeling
refreshed while trying to maintain a positive outlook.
"It’s been going well for
now. Obviously, I had a good pre-season. When I came in in January I felt
refreshed," De Allende told media at the Stormers' Bellville training
complex on Monday.
"Last year I got injured in
the first game (against the Bulls).
"I’ve just decided to take
it week by week and trying to be as happy as I can be no matter how sore I
De Allende then opened up on how
difficult last year had been for him, even after returning from injury.
"It was tough for me to come
back … more tough because I wasn’t getting enough game time," he said.
"I think that’s where a lot
of us get confidence, is when we start playing consistently. I struggled to get
consistent game time when I got back last year. I thought I did well to get
back two weeks earlier than what I should have, but then I got injured again,
unfortunately. Hopefully I can stay injury free for a while now."
On Saturday against the Blues, De
Allende was one of a number of Stormers players who had been struck down by the
'flu that week.
It didn't seem to impact the
performance too much as the Capetonians ran out 37-20 winners at
De Allende, though, was
struggling after the match.
"I didn’t train the whole
week last week and I just did the captain’s run on Friday," he said.
"When I came off the field
on Saturday I was buggered. I had to go see the doctors and I got a bit of heat
stroke and I was low on energy.
"Otherwise, I’m feeling much
better. The nose is still struggling a bit but otherwise I’m feeling very
With the Stormers now looking to
build on that impressive performance against the Blues and find some
consistency week in and week out, a fit and strong De Allende will surely aid
They are next in action when they
host the Reds on Saturday. Kick-off is at 17:15.