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De Allende: Rugby has changed 'immensely' since 2015

By Ian Cameron
Damien de Allende tussles with New Zealand players

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It’s only been four years, but Damien de Allende says rugby has changed immensely since the 2015 edition of the Rugby World Cup.


De Allende was speaking at a media conference at the Nadahama Sports Ground in Kobe.

Comments from the South Africa inside-centre shed light on the on-field changes – at least how de Allende sees them.

“Not just me or South Africa, but the whole of world rugby has improved immensely,” said de Allende. “Sometimes Handre (Pollard) and myself watch old World Cup games from 2015, and back then there was absolutely no line speed on defence. And the skillset wasn’t under pressure or anything like that.

“We’ve all developed in that sense, where we can play under kind of pressure – where guys are in your face and making decisions under pressure.

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“The game has gone a bit more structured as well. I think that’s where you’ve got to learn and accept that you are not going to get a lot more turnovers, and there are going to be a lot more kicks on you.


“So, it’s a lot more structured attack, and that’s where we have developed.”

“We all have the licence to express ourselves on the field, but sometimes it’s quite tough – with the line-speed and the way teams have developed now with their skillsets under pressure.

“Sometimes it’s quite tough to make a 50-50 pass, because you know that if that pass doesn’t stick, you will probably concede seven, five or three points.


“You want to take a few risks now and then, if you really have to. If the opportunity is there and you feel like you can do it, then do it.

“But I would say if you are in two minds and there’s a bit of doubt, then rather tuck it and try to play one or more phases, and see if you can break the defence and get over the advantage line.”

The Stormers centre was quizzed on how being in the 2019 quarter-finals is different to reaching the 2015 semi-finals.

“It was a bit similar. The only thing we did differently in the 2015 World Cup is that we managed to get two points from losing the first game, and knew if we could win the other pool matches, we would qualify from the pool stage.

“This time, we were under a lot more pressure – and I don’t mean that in a negative way. We knew we had to win at least three of our games with a bonus point, and that is where the pressure came on us a bit.

“Luckily we exceeded those expectations. Our best game yet has been against Italy. Although we were under a lot of pressure, to get the bonus-point try and keep them tryless was really massive, because they played good rugby against Namibia and Canada.”

Dallen Stanford is a South African born former seven’s player turned broadcaster. RugbyPass caught up with him in Japan to discuss his journey and his predictions for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

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