'I would love to leave Munster with hopefully two trophies' - De Allende

The in-form Springbok centre is leaving at the end of the season.

De Allende celebrates his try against Exeter.
De Allende celebrates his try against Exeter.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

MUNSTER BROUGHT IN Damian de Allende to help them take the next step and the South African is determined not to leave this summer without having helped the province to a long-awaited trophy.

The Springbok centre is in sensational form at present and has rarely been anything other than excellent during his two seasons with Munster. 

De Allende is leaving at the end of the current season to return to Japan, where he played his club rugby with the Panasonic Wild Knights before coming to Ireland.

With Munster building up to a Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulouse in Dublin this weekend and also having qualified for the URC play-offs, de Allende is hopeful his final chapter with the province will be a glorious one.

“It would be incredible,” says the 30-year-old. “I obviously signed here to win a trophy but we’ll take it week by week. My main focus is just on this week. We have to get through this week to get to the semi-final.

“I would obviously love to leave Munster with hopefully two trophies but we’ll focus on this week and let the rest take care of itself.”

De Allende is one of a few South Africans departing Munster this summer, with head coach Johann van Graan, defence coach JP Ferreira, back row Chris Cloete, and second row Jason Jenkins also set for moves elsewhere.

It’s the end of an era for sure and while de Allende isn’t sticking around, he speaks very highly of his experience with Munster.

“I want to leave here on a high but if that doesn’t happen that’s just the way things go,” he says. “It would be unfortunate but I will cherish my time here. I’ve really loved it.

“It was tough when I couldn’t enjoy Ireland properly when I first got here but as the weeks have gone on it’s been a lot better.

damian-de-allende De Allende has been in superb form for Munster. Source: Ben Brady/INPHO

“It’s been incredible to play in a full Thomond Park, it was exceptional. I wish I could have played in front of a crowd in a lot more events but that’s just the way life is at the moment.

“Whatever happens happens, but I will leave here with a big smile on my face with lots of happy memories that were made here in Munster.”

Indeed, the Thomond Park experience will be foremost among de Allende’s memories. Munster’s fans have a big reputation in world rugby and they have lived up to his expectations.

“I’ve never played at a club where I’ve gone to an away game and there’s been more supporters from the away team,” says de Allende.

“When we played against Wasps and Exeter, it felt like there were more Munster fans there than the home fans so for me that was incredible.

What are they
really like?

Rare insights on sport's biggest names from the writers who know them best. Listen to Behind the Lines podcast.

Become a Member

“It’s the first time I’ve seen something like that and to interact with the fans after those games, it’s always incredible. It’s nice to walk along the field and take pictures with fans at Thomond Park.”

Though he won’t be around as Munster move on with Graham Rowntree as head coach next season, de Allende believes the province are in very good hands.

“He’s great, I think he’s going to be exceptional for the club.

“It won’t be much of a big difference because all the guys respect him and get on well with him, there’s a good relationship and a good understanding.

“Obviously his goals might be a bit different – not different in the sense of what Munster want to achieve as a club, but his tactics might be a bit different.

“The club is in good hands with Graham Rowntree in as head coach next year.”

- Originally published at 06.00

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel