Damian de Allende is a veteran of 70 Tests, but his last game in the run-up to the Auckland Test against the All Blacks was in Japan in May. And the Kiwis showed especially in the first 20 minutes at the Mount Smart Stadium that there is no shortcut on the training field to be match-ready.
The 31-year-old full-back gets another chance to underline his value in the Springbok jersey at Ellis Park on Saturday when he and Jesse Kriel form the South Africans’ center combination against Argentina.
“You can sweat for a year on the training field, but the only way to get match fit is to play regularly,” said De Allende during a Springbok media session in Pretoria this week.
He is also looking forward to taking on the Argentines with his new center partner. Kriel said in a previous interview that he is burning to get another chance to play for the Boks.
“I’m happy for Jesse. He looks very good on the training pitch and just like the rest of the team he is definitely ready for action.”
Grant Williams and Manie Libbok are the Springboks’ link pair at Ellis Park and they will certainly want to put their unique stamp on the game.
“It is an exciting prospect to play with Manie and Grant. They deliver dynamic play and I can’t wait to see how they can take control of the game.”
The match kicks off at 17:05 on Saturday and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Springboks: Willie le Roux (full back), Cheslin Kolbe (right wing), Jesse Kriel (outside centre), Damian de Allende (inside centre), Kurt-Lee Arendse (left wing), Manie Libbok (fly-half), Grant Williams (scrum-half), Duane Vermeulen (eighth man and captain), Pieter-Steph du Toit (flank), Marco van Staden (flank), Marvin Orie (lock), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Frans Malherbe (prop), Malcolm Marx (hooker) and Steven Kitshoff (prop). Substitutes: Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Kwagga Smith, RG Snyman, Faf de Klerk, Lukhanyo Am and Damian Willemse.
Argentina: Juan Cruz Mallia (full back), Mateo Carreras (right wing), Lucio Cinti (outside centre), Santiago Chocobares (inside centre), Juan Imhoff (left wing), Santiago Carreras (fly-half), Lautaro Bazan Velez (scrum-half), Juan Martin Gonzalez (eighth man) , Santiago Grondona (flank), Pablo Matera (flank), Tomas Lavaninni (lock), Lucas Paulos (lock), Francisco Gomez Kodela (prop), Julian Montoya (captain and hooker) and Thomas Gallo (prop) Substitutes: Ignacio Ruiz, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Joel Sclavi, Pedro Rubiolo, Facundo Isa, Gonzalo Betranou, Thomas Albornoz and Matias Moroni.