De Allende: 'I couldn’t enjoy Ireland properly'
SPOTLIGHT: Springbok centre Damian de Allende is hoping he can help Munster end their trophy drought before he departs the Irish club at the end of the current season.
Munster have qualified for the United Rugby Championship play-offs and they will be facing French giants Toulouse in the last eight of the European Champions Cup in Dublin this coming weekend.
De Allende, who joined the Irish club in 2020, has been in fine form recently and he has been thriving playing in front of the Munster fans. He has played for Munster 35 times with only 11 of those being in front of crowds due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Only four of those matches have been at home in front of the Thomond Park crowd.
And he is hoping to give the fans something to cheer about in the next few weeks by helping Munster go all the way in the tournaments mentioned above.
“It would be incredible,” De Allende told Irish media this week.
“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 [in the Champions Cup] to get to the semifinal.
“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.”
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He added: “I want to leave here on a high but if that doesn’t happen that’s just the way things go.
“It would be unfortunate, but I will cherish my time here. I 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.
“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.”
Although limited, the experience of playing in front of the Munster supporters will be something De Allende will never forget.
“I’ve never played at a club where I’ve gone to an away game and there have 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.
“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.”
Source: the42.ie & The Irish Times