Springbok centre Damian de Allende said on Tuesday they are working hard this week in the build-up the Test against France, whom the South Africans are expecting to be a tough opponent in Paris on Saturday evening.
The match is the second fixture of the Boks’ 2018 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour of the United Kingdom and France. England edged South Africa 12-11 in a tightly fought affair last Saturday in London.
De Allende said that despite the narrow defeat at Twickenham and the disappointment of not winning, the Boks will continue with their processes, adding that the French will provide a very difficult challenge on home soil.
“We are focussing on ourselves and where we can rectify the mistakes we made against England, so that we can improve and play better against France,” said De Allende.
The powerful midfielder has struggled with injuries earlier this season, but since his return to fitness, De Allende has resumed his partnership with Jesse Kriel at outside centre and Handre Pollard at flyhalf.
“We are constantly working on making our combination better, as well with the other players in the squad who also covers the midfield positions, and then also with our team mates on the outside of midfield,” said De Allende, who added that the Boks had put in a lot of very hard work at their training camps this year.
“The coaches put a lot of emphasis on preparation and we work hard during training camps and obviously fine-tune our game plan in the week leading up to a Test.
“Our approach to the matches up in the northern hemisphere has also changed a bit because you have to respect the conditions in Europe and the way the game is played up here. We learnt a lot from the Test that we lost against England in Cape Town in June, in very wet conditions.
“I think we are getting there, and we are working on how to vary our game so that we can constantly look for opportunities on the field,” added De Allende, who has made 34 Test appearances already for the Springboks.
Meanwhile, the Springbok continued with the match preparations at the impressive INSEP High Performance Centre in Paris, the French Olympic sports facility. The team to play against France at the Stade de France will be named on Thursday. The 2018 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour also include Tests against Scotland and Wales.
Brief career summary of Damian de Allende:
Province: DHL Western Province
Test debut: 16 August 2014 vs Argentina in Pretoria, aged 22
Total tests: 34
Tour matches: 1
Total Tries: 4
Total Springbok matches: 35