Damian de Allende spins the ball to a teammate during the Springbok captain's run at Loftus Versfeld on Friday. Photo: Kim Ludbrook/EPA
Damian de Allende spins the ball to a teammate during the Springbok captain's run at Loftus Versfeld on Friday. Photo: Kim Ludbrook/EPA
Sonny Bill Williams always looks for the offload in the tackle. Photo: EPA
Sonny Bill Williams always looks for the offload in the tackle. Photo: EPA

The one is a boxer, and the other one looks he could get into a ring as well.

But when they collide at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, Springbok inside centre Damian de Allende and his All Black rival Sonny Bill Williams will know that they are in a real fight to dominate the gain-line in their final Rugby Championship clash.

So, who will stand tall?

Tale of the Tape

Damian de Allende: 1.90m, 105kg, 32 Tests

The 26-year-old from Milnerton in Cape Town returns to the Bok side after missing the Wallaby win in PE due to a shoulder injury sustained against the All Blacks in Wellington.

De Allende was at his best in 2015, when he forced his way into the World Cup squad. Injuries have hampered him since, with lengthy periods out of the game.

While solid in defence against the All Blacks in Wellington, De Allende didn’t get much opportunity to showcase his all-round skills.

He has mainly been used as a battering ram up to now, especially in those dying stages of the Wallaby clash in Brisbane, where Faf de Klerk time and again doubled around from scrums to find De Allende on a crash-ball run.

Will the Western Province midfielder be allowed to play his natural style on Saturday? He has a lovely long pass, big step and a strong kicking game.

Oh, and he has to stop Sonny Bill’s offloads…

Sonny Bill Williams: 1.91m, 108kg, 48 Tests

The pass master has all the tricks in the book – bash it up, swing the ball wide, grubbers, and of course, the offload, where he gets his hands above the tackler to find a mate in space.

Williams doesn’t normally chip-kick, though, so that’s one less thing to worry about for the Boks.

It has been an injury-plagued 2018 for the former rugby league star, so he will want to remind All Black coach Steve Hansen that he still has the ability to unlock defences at the age of 33.

But can he handle the equally strapping De Allende?

 

IOL Sport

Like IOL Sport on Facebook

Follow IOL Sport on Twitter