De Allende to make Springbok debut


Damian de Allende will make his Springbok debut next to returning national captain Jean de Villiers when South Africa open their Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday (kick-off 17h00).
Test Rugby
Test Rugby

De Villiers is one of three returning Springboks who played no part in the Castle Lager Incoming Series because of injury. The others are Frans Malherbe and Eben Etzebeth, who have both been selected on the bench.

Junior Springbok captain Handré Pollard will get his second Test cap when he lines up between the experienced De Villiers and Ruan Pienaar, while Willem Alberts and Tendai Mtawarira are also back after missing the Scotland Test because of injuries.

At lock, Lood de Jager will have to fill the considerable boots of the injured Victor Matfield, but he’ll have the experienced Bakkies Botha next to him.

“It’s great to welcome back Jean, Willem, ‘Beast’, Eben and Frans, but I’m also very excited to see what Damian can do after he missed out on making his debut in June because of an injury,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“Jean and Damian have played together before, albeit not this way around. But Damian has experience of playing outside centre from his junior days and he got his break at inside centre when he had to step up in Jean’s place.

“Handré also deserved another opportunity and it will be good to see how he combines with Jean and Damian.

“Lood has improved a lot over the last couple of months and although it’s a big ask for him to fill the void left by Victor, I know he has the goods to deliver. He will be well-supported by Duane Vermeulen in the line-outs though.”

Meyer moved Jan Serfontein, who had a very good series in June, to the bench as injury cover, with De Villiers and De Allende both returning from injuries, while Morne Steyn will provide back-up at flyhalf and fullback.

“Jan was one of our best players in June, but Jean is our captain and was always going to return once he was fit again,” said Meyer.

“We’re up against a formidable opponent on Saturday and we can’t take any chances or make experiments. The players know they have to be switched on mentally and physically, otherwise it could become a long afternoon at Loftus.”

Pat Lambie will return to Durban on Wednesday to play for the Cell C Sharks in the Absa Currie Cup on Friday evening, when they host the Steval Pumas.

Meyer said: “Pat missed four months of Vodacom Super Rugby and although he made his return towards the end of the competition, it was felt that he could do with game time this weekend before we leave for Argentina and we’d like to thank the Sharks for agreeing to give him a run.”

The Springbok team to face Argentina in Pretoria is:

15. Willie le Roux 15 tests 35 points
14. Cornal Hendricks 3 tests 10 points
13. Damian de Allende 0 tests 0 points
12. Jean de Villiers (captain) 96 tests 125 points
11. Bryan Habana 97 tests 275 points
10. Handré Pollard 1 test 13 points
9. Ruan Pienaar 76 tests 130 points
8. Duane Vermeulen 19 tests 10 points
7. Willem Alberts 32 tests 35 points
6. Francois Louw 30 tests 25 points
5. Lood de Jager 3 tests 10 points
4. Bakkies Botha 79 tests 35 points
3. Jannie du Plessis 54 tests 5 points
2. Bismarck du Plessis (vice-captain) 60 tests 45 points
1. Tendai Mtawarira 55 tests 10 points
16. Adriaan Strauss 34 tests 25 points
17. Trevor Nyakane 4 tests 5 points
18. Frans Malherbe 2 tests 0 points
19. Eben Etzebeth 23 tests 0 points
20. Marcell Coetzee16 tests 10 points
21. Francois Hougaard 28 tests 20 points
22. Morné Steyn 56 tests 660 points
23. Jan Serfontein 12 tests 5 points

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  1. I really like the look of the team. I hope pollard has a brilliant game, with him and le roux there, we have some real attacking flair with pace to burn on the outside

  2. Looking at the team I was left wondering where are all those guys that say Meyer is biased towards the Bulls :whistling:

    WP and Freestate were awfull this year in super rugby, does thies mean he now has a WP and Freestate bias? :pot:

    On a serious not, good team on paper. Love how Meyer pairs experience with new talent

  3. Sasori –
    I totally believe HM has a ZBulls bias.
    Its a testament to his genius that he transcends his base instinct in that regard to recognize the great players he has chosen.
    That’s what makes him such a great coach.
    Who could look at this lineup without immediately having the word “Maestro’ pop into their mind when considering HM’s selection prowess?

  4. Barring injuries is that it for Pat Lambie? He is obviously now behind Pollard and Stayn in the flyhalve stakes. He might still be back-up at fullback, but it seems he is not part of the plans for the foreseeable future.

  5. @Craven: I do believe he brings a different game to the team, so I believe it is all about who you play and what game you want to play, but if Pollard take this opportunity he can make it difficult for anybody else as he is the total package.

  6. Have to say, even though I am excited with the inclusion of Pollard, I am even more chuffed with Malherbe’s inclusion in the team. We might disagree if he is the second best tighthead, but it is great to see a real tighthead on the bench, no disrespect to Coenie intended.

  7. @Craven: You will hear no argument from me their, have been telling for some time that Coenie is not the answer, he gets mussel out even in provincial level so how can we expect him to be the best in international level.

  8. @Craven:

    I think it’s mostly due to injury. He is a class player and if healthy will stay in contention.

    I have a theory on ball carrying 10s and injuries. Lambie, Goosen and Pollard are all of the same profile. Neither of the three will play many Tests in a row playing the way they do now.

  9. @Timeo:

    You might be onto something with that.

    Looking at flyhalves in general, they do seem to take a lot of punishment and injuries, for the ABs Carter and Cruden have been injured a lot over the past few seasons, also just look at their 2011 world cup campaign. Wilkinson were plagued with injuries through his career. WP / Stormers have had endless injury problems with their flyhalves.

    The only guy who seemed to have lead a charmed life is Morne!

  10. Craven:

    A clever person at the Bulls must have told Morne to stand deep and get rid of the ball…… Meanwhile in New Zeeland, over a 10 year career, Dan Carter had been out injured for 1 out of every 3 All Black matches.

    To me, it’s mind boggling stupid to expect (or allow) your “general” to run where the bullets fly thickest.