VIDEO: Settling in ain't easy for World Cup-winning Bok
PRO14 SPOTLIGHT: Playing in Europe may not always be a proverbial ‘bed of roses’.
Springbok Damian de Allende, the new Munster midfield signing, has revealed the one thing that he has struggled most with following his recent switch to Limerick – the Irish weather.
Having recently arrived in Ireland, the 28-year-old centre who spent the earlier part of 2020 playing in Japan for Panasonic Wild Knights is hoping to rehab a calf problem in time for Munster’s Guinness PRO14 2019/20 restart match away to Leinster on August 22.
Speaking in his first interview since joining Munster, de Allende was asked how he is finding settling into his new surroundings. “It has been great,” he said on the Munster website video.
“The one tough thing I need to get used to is the weather. When people say the weather is quite bad I didn’t actually believe it. We are getting a little bit of sunshine but it’s probably once every few days at most, but other than that it has been really good. To be at the HPC (high-performance centre) has been great.”
It won’t be until the new 2020/21 season that de Allende will likely have the chance to play at Thomond Park. The province’s two rearranged 2019/20 regular season matches – versus Leinster and Connacht – are scheduled for Aviva Stadium and a semi-final appearance is also likely to be played out behind closed doors in Dublin.
However, when he does eventually get to make his maiden Limerick appearance, his fingers are crossed that some level of normality will have returned to sports events in Ireland and he can get a taste of the famed Thomond Park atmosphere.
“To watch the Champions Cup and see games being played at Thomond Park, it just gives me a feeling of the ways the fans are at the Stormers and Western Province,” he said.
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“I’m sure home games are out of the world in terms of the noise and everything like that. I’m really looking forward to that first home game. Hopefully, by the time we get to that first home game supporters will be allowed to enter the stadium. I’m very excited. I’m looking forward to pulling that jersey on and we can make great memories.”
It’s now eight months since the Springboks lifted the World Cup in Yokohama under the guidance of Rassie Erasmus, the former Munster coach. De Allende, though, is still getting used to life as a World Cup winner.
“I don’t think it has sunk in yet. It will sink in when I give it a few more years because I don’t think we realised at the time what we did for our country. It was awesome to win the World Cup, and then go and celebrate my brother’s wedding as well.
“I have never seen Cape Town like that before. I cried probably five or six times on the bus because it was just a bit overwhelming, but it was a very good experience. It was something that I can’t really explain, it’s just something that you have to experience first-hand.”
Sources: Munster & RugbyPass