The Springboks will be looking to get the ball into the wide channels once again when they take on England in their final end-of-year-tour match at Twickenham on Saturday night.
Over their last two games, against France and Italy, the Boks have looked to run the ball a lot more than usual, with it paying off despite the loss against the French, but it was emphatically shown in the thumping win over the Italians.
Bok inside centre Damian de Allende, who shifted to outside centre for the Italian game, admits that the team have been enjoying giving their outside backs more space with the ball and they hope to do it again this weekend.
“I don’t really mind playing at 12 or 13, but it was nice playing 13. There is a bit more space in the wider channels and I think this past weekend against Italy we managed to get the ball there quite a bit which was nice,” said De Allende.
“That was our plan for the (Italy) game and if things go well for us this week hopefully we can get the ball to the wider channels again against England.
“It’s nice to see guys like Kurt-Lee (Arendse) given space to run and hopefully we can get (Makazole) Mapimpi into space because when they are running at full tilt it is nice to watch. So we want to get the ball to the wider channels.”
De Allende is usually used by the Boks to get over the gain line with strong carries from his inside centre berth often running into the forwards, but says that he is happy to do whatever is needed for the team.
“It is our game plan from time to time (bashing the ball up). We know we aren’t always going to be dominant the whole game,” explained De Allende.
“So it is tough running into the forwards all the time. But we are here to serve each other. So whether I have to bash it up 10 times a game, or just once and we can get the ball wide, I will do it.”
The last two matches against England at Twickenham have ended in extremely tight one point wins for the hosts, and the Boks will be keen to try and pick up their first win at the ground since 2014.
“It would be incredible to get a win over England at Twickenham. It is always a tough encounter and they are a great team. Like us they have also been up and down these past few games, so it is going to be a close match,” said De Allende.
“In 2018 we were very close, last year we were very close and hopefully this time we can turn things around. Last year I thought we played well in patches, but I don’t think we played well consistently enough. Hopefully we will be a lot more consistent this weekend on the field.”
De Allende was also named in the World Rugby Dream Team for 2022, along with Bok team mates Lukhanyo Am and Malcolm Marx, but claimed that he would rather enjoy more success with the team than individual success.
“It is nice. I think it would have been a lot sweeter if we had won a couple more games this year as a team. Without the help of the other players around us, I wouldn’t be in this position, so an individual award is great, but we want to get things right as a team and be more consistent,” said De Allende.