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RATINGS: How Boks performed in 2021 – De Allende and Etzebeth

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Nov 26, 2021

READ | RATINGS: HOW BOKS PERFORMED IN 2021 – AM AND NYAKANE

BOKS’ BACKLINE BULLDOZER DAMIAN DE ALLENDE (8)

It appears that De Allende is finally starting to receive the plaudits that are due after a year in which he continued to enhance his reputation as a world-class performer.

De Allende finished the year with a standout performance against England last weekend, capping off another superb season for the dynamic midfielder.

The 30-year-old started in 11 of the Boks’ 13 Tests this year, making a consistent impact as a powerful ball carrier, while he hardly put a foot wrong on defence.

He also demonstrated how he has evolved into a player with a highly effective offloading game, and who makes a constant impact at the breakdown.

“From a go-forward perspective, Damian is your man to go to. He is unbelievable at the breakdown. He causes as much chaos in terms of getting on the ball as Duane Vermeulen, Malcolm Marx and Kwagga Smith,” former Bok great Bryan Habana recently raved when describing De Allende.

“As a rugby enthusiast, watch Damian’s work at the breakdown. He is constantly fighting, putting in that extra yard on defence and attack, putting the defence and attack under so much more pressure.

“His combination with Lukhanyo Am has been flourishing for the better part of three-and-a-half years, which is brilliant to see. He is one of the best passers of the ball. I love Damian. I think he is the calmest, chilled out guy and a brilliant bloke.”

READ | DE ALLENDE: BOKS ARE ON THE ‘RIGHT PATH’

SECOND ROW LYNCHPIN EBEN ETZEBETH (9)

Etzebeth has been one of the Springboks’ standout performers throughout this year, starting in 12 of the 13 Tests played in 2021.

The powerful lock led the charge once again this past weekend as the Boks came within a couple of points of securing a memorable victory against England at Twickenham.

The widely held view is that he was robbed by World Rugby after he was omitted from the Player of the Year nominations, but he will hardly be fazed by that.

It’s clear that every time Etzebeth takes to the field he gives 110% for the Bok jersey, and it’s very evident that he thrives in the biggest games.

Against the British & Irish Lions, All Blacks and England, Etzebeth was a colossus, dominating the collisions, ruling the skies at lineout time and adding typical physicality on defence.

His impressive mobility is remarkable for such a big man, while his work rate appears insatiable after producing one 80-minute performance after another.

Still only 30 years old, there appears to be no doubt that he will go down as one of the Boks’ all-time greats, especially considering he is now just three Tests away from the 100-cap milestone with plenty of rugby still left in him.

READ | BOKS FINISH THE YEAR AS THE NO 1-RANKED TEAM

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