RE: Damian de Allende
October 26, 2012, 09:24:59
I must admit I was flabbergasted by the selection of De Allende - that is why I read up as much as possible on what he can bring to games. Like everybody else - I never thought this type of selection would happen. However, throughout Super 15 this year there were serious problems in the Stormer backline combinations and I am not suprised really about what happened.
Let me be more explicit - espeially with regard to the Centers who played for the Syormers. I have always rated De Villiers very highly as a center. However, in his case performances has been deteriorating with age. To my mind De Villiers is unliklely to last more than a further year as center. and the end of 2013 will be the most he can hope for before retiring.
De Villiers did last through the Super 15 this year without a really serious injury - surprising since he previously was injury bound and missed out on the 2003 and 2007 WC's because of injuries. However, this year he showed very little in Super 15 - one of the main reasons why the Stormer backline was not really firing at all.
However, the main reason was in fact De Jongh. De Jongh did show some attacking and defensive flare flare initially when he became a Springbok - but that went out of the window when the opposititon worked him out. Nowadays he is as hamrless in attack than my grandma would have been. His clangers are getting more and more. His ballhandling really is a joke in bad tatse. Last week for example - he knocked balls on twice and the case where he rushed back to defend was a classic. Instead of booting out the ball he ran past it and fell on it. That ultimately led to the Lions try. In the whole of Super 15 he scored only two tries - both against the Rebels. In both cases he had an open line in front of him with no defenders that could stop the tries. However, he can as easily fluff tries - like happened in the Australia test and again last Saturday - when he received the ball - which ended in him being ankle-tapped. De Jongh has a reputation as a speedy player - yet the player who ankle-tapped him ran from behind and in fact was a Lions forward (no 19).
From my own perspective the real backline problem thisyear with the Stormers was the combination of a deteriorating De Villiers with a useless De Jongh outside of him. Insofar as I am concerned any center combination without De Jongh will be stronger than one with him in the team. However, Coetzee seems to be "married" to him from a team selection perspective.
The other weak link in the center situation was Brasche. He did play instead of De Villiers in a few games in Super 15 and showed zero in the process. Last Saturday he was utterly useless as a center and that is perhaps why he was left out of the team this week.
I would have left De Jongh out if the Stormers team completely - since he did not really deserve to be in the team. Even if De Allende have the game of his life on Saturday - De Jongh would bugger it up outside of him. That is why I thought that Du Plessis got a raw deal insofar as the final is concerned. The latter really is a classy player - both on defence and especially on attack. Without Du Plessis as an additional attacking player - the WP backline would not perform as required.
However, I will watch the performance of De Allende carefully - he may yet surprize us all - if what Dobson said about him is anything to go by.