Brad Barritt's take on Bok centres: De Allende unfairly criticised

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Damian de Allende (Gallo Images)
Damian de Allende (Gallo Images)
  • Former England centre Brad Barritt has heaped praise on the current Springbok midfield combination of Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am.
  • Barritt feels De Allende has been unfairly criticised for his style of play.
  • Along with Jesse Kriel, Barritt believes they will "carry the Springboks forward for the years to come".

Former England and Saracens centre Brad Barritt has heaped praise on the current Springbok midfield pairing of Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am.

The South African-born Barritt, who played 26 Tests for England, told Sport24 that both centres "have been fantastic" for the Boks.

"Munster have made an incredible signing in Damian. He has proved himself on the big stage and his performances in the knockout rounds for the Springboks were probably the best of any centre in the World Cup at the time..." Barritt said in an exclusive interview.

"I remember watching him as a young kid coming through the Western Province ranks and you could always sense that he was destined for big things and likewise with Lukhanyo. The 26-year-old outside centre is a fantastic player and he has turned into a brilliant leader for the Sharks. He is classy and you can sense that he has a very mature head on his shoulders. He was one of the standout Springbok players at the World Cup.

"You can also add in a player like Jesse Kriel who is phenomenal and dynamic. He is someone that definitely offers a physical threat whenever he is on the park. Those three centres are going to carry the Springboks forward for the years to come..."

Barritt, who started his professional career at the Sharks before moving to England in 2008, added that De Allende has copped unfair criticism in the past.

"Coming back to Damian, who I rate highly, he has been criticised in the past for his style of play. In rugby there is always more than one way to skin a cat. It’s frustrating for players when they get pigeonholed in a certain way when that is what is being asked of them in the team.

"I know that Damian has all the skills because I have seen it for myself but sometimes you have to have an element of selflessness as a player and do what the team requires. Sometimes that is doing the hard yards and other times the game opens up and you can show a wider array of your skills.

"I started my career as more of a distributor in South Africa but in the UK the game is more attritional. You become more of a ball-carrier. It’s about gain-line and speed of ball on which the team can operate."

READ | Brad Barritt's full Q&A interview with Sport24

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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