Am thriving in storming Bok centre pairing with De Allende

10 September 2021 - 12:29
Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende, pictured during a Proteas warm-up, have forged an outstanding chemistry as the Springboks’ centre pair.
Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende, pictured during a Proteas warm-up, have forged an outstanding chemistry as the Springboks’ centre pair.
Image: @Springboks/Twitter

The scary thing about the ever-improving centre partnership of Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende is that they are going to get better with time for the Springboks.

Over the last two years Am and De Allende, both still under 30, have formed a storming partnership that has helped the Springboks win a Rugby Championship, World Cup and Lions series.

Their impressive performances have drawn glowing comparisons to previous powerful Bok midfield pairings of De Wet Barry and Marius Joubert, and Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie.

“In SA we are blessed in having had great centres in the backline. I think our generation has taken over that responsibility and we are doing a fairly good job and strive to do better at all times,” said Am in something of an understatement as the Boks prepared to meet Australia in the third round of the Rugby Championship on Sunday at the CBUS Super Stadium in Gold Coast.

“I have played with Damian for just over two years now and I think in the Test matches that we've played together I have gained a lot of experience. We have learned a lot from each other and also feed off each other very well - that’s one of the key things for us.

“We aim at doing whatever we can towards the team and it is really working well at the moment. As a team we are really aligned and we know what each member is good at and what each member needs to work on.”

Since captaining South Africa “A” against the British and Irish Lions in July, Am has received glowing feedback from rugby fans as one of the best centres in the world, but he credits everything to the team.

“Since we started with the training camp in Bloemfontein in June, we have taken over the responsibility of playing for our country seriously and it has really been good playing Test matches again.

“My role in the team is definitely to do my best at all times and we have managed as a team to take up from where we finished off the last time we played, which was at the (2019) World Cup. We are confident as a team and that gives opportunities to each individual to showcase their performances.”

Am is expecting a bruising encounter against the Wallabies.

“I think Australia have a fairly balanced side, with experienced guys and a couple of new faces in the group, but that means nothing because you can never underestimate your opponents.

“I think they are playing good rugby and it is just unfortunate for them that they have not been getting the results. From our side we are preparing as much as we can to try to be tops this weekend.

“For a new player coming into Test rugby it is definitely a huge step compared to a local competition or franchise rugby. For me it was really nice coming into the group where there were experienced players around and that made my job easier.

“I learned from the senior players as much as I could from the training camps into Test matches. The shared responsibility in the group gave bits and pieces of experience that I have learned up to this stage.”