Sport

Ex-Bok centre ‘wasn’t a big’ De Allende fan until World Cup heroics

Former Springbok centre Grant Esterhuizen has shared his views on the national team’s current midfield incumbents.

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Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am manned the Springbok midfield during last year’s victorious World Cup and Esterhuzien told Sport24 in an exclusive interview he was impressed by what he saw.

He did, however, admit that before 2019 he was not overly impressed by De Allende.

“To be totally honest, the last couple of years I haven’t been a big Damian de Allende fan. However, last year he actually started playing some very decent rugby and he was really good for club and country.

“He was phenomenal at the 2019 Rugby World Cup as he was really solid and did exactly what he needed to do. Both him and Lukhanyo Am are extremely talented players and the roles that were set out for them were very clear.

“Damian is a very strong ball-carrier, whereas Lukhanyo is a good ball-distributor. You can have talented individuals in teams, but if they don’t know what they have to do and are always given free rein it won’t work properly,” Esterhuizen said.

The 44-year-old Esterhuizen, who played seven Tests for the Springboks in 2000, also lauded the Springbok coaching staff.

“Their successful execution also came down to effective coaching. Rassie Erasmus and his crew did their homework and everyone knew what they had to do on the pitch and the players followed through with it really well. In terms of midfield, first and foremost, for me, it’s about defence and that channel needs to be very solid. The incumbent Bok centres are very good on defence and were very solid at the World Cup.”

READ | Grant Esterhuizen’s full Q&A interview with Sport24

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