Time is running out for Damien de Allende to make a difference as he leaves Munster


Summarizing Damien de Allende’s stint at Munster as an absolutely stunning sporting marriage might seem a bit harsh. Until perhaps one could glean an assessment from the horse’s mouth.

Of course, I signed here to win a trophy,” says the World Cup winner, impatiently waiting for his medal collection to be expanded.

And Munster pledged him to win one too, and granted him a handsome license to do so from an IRFU wary of the yawning void created by Leinster, and provided generous support from private benefactors to ensure the indebted club did not end up with the The entirety was charged with an alleged salary of €500,000.

Few can argue forcefully that he delivered a bang for his buck; and only the next few weeks will show whether he feels he can repay the expense of his signature.

There were myriad factors; Covid denied him – and everyone else, it must be said – the energy of a crowd, a catastrophic accident made for unwanted headlines on the front instead of the back, and meanwhile he’s raising a new family.

Lest we forget, humans fill these warrior shirts.

However, if success metrics were to close the gap with Leinster – the scant evidence of games between them reveals the truth – and winning trophies, it was a failure on both counts.

At times it seemed that while the player was adequately prepared for what he could bring to his new team, they were clearly unable to accommodate his remarkable range of skills, backed by impressive power and panache.

Ironically, Munster’s last game against Toulouse seemed to embody a lack of lively sporting accomplishment; a raucous, raging first-half performance that gave his side a half-time lead with assists for Keith Earl’s try double, tempered by a second 40 that saw him barely touch the ball in attack.

It was another missed opportunity for the club and the players.

“Last year was frustrating, not that we missed anything, just the mistakes we made,” he notes. “Hopefully we’ve learned from that this week.”

He feels they have allied themselves with the returning crowds this season and personally too; He’s scored just five tries on red, but four of those have arrived this spring.

“I play rugby to win and that’s the main goal. If I score a try, I score a try. If I don’t, it’s more worthwhile setting up a try.

“Our momentum is better than last year, it helps to have supporters. We had big moments last year but when you don’t have an audience it feels like the hard work goes unnoticed.

“The crowd can keep you up a lot longer and Exeter on the last lap was like that.

“We have grown a lot and are much tighter than last year. Not only do we understand each other better, but also what we want to achieve.

“Our execution and mutual understanding has really improved, the way we’ve grown as a group has been incredible. We’ve had dips this season but at this stage we’re starting to gel and could do that even more on Saturday.

A siege mentality, whether developed by forces within after the chaotic coaching handover, helps around repeated criticism from supporters and others of their inconsistent form.

“When things get difficult, especially in a team environment, it can be quite easy to point the finger and when things got difficult we kept it in the group and took responsibility for it.

“The hardship started just before we went to South Africa. We lost a game against Connacht, it was a very tough game. It was just a little frustration.

“But when frustration creeps into a team and you work it out in the group and don’t let that frustration come out of the group, it helps a lot.

“We’ve talked about it many times and understanding how we talk about it helped a lot too. It doesn’t blame each other, it makes each other better and I think as a group we understand that.

“We’ve learned a lot and have a lot to look forward to, but it’s been incredible how the guys overcame that frustration. Anytime there’s frustration, we just talk about it and get it out of the way, we don’t let it linger any longer.”

The 30-year-old, who is expected to travel to Japan this summer, is ready to vent some of his personal frustrations even in front of a partisan crowd – a home away from home.

And a continuation of his recent try-scoring exploits would certainly help.

“I don’t have a favorite try but Exeter’s at Thomond Park was incredible,” says de Allende, hoping for a stark contrast to his last lost visit to the Aviva Stadium.

“The last time I felt so much energy was in the semi-finals of the World Cup against Wales. It was exceptional.

“And hopefully when I score in the next few weeks I can feel the same energy from the crowd.

“We have to stick to our structures and play our rugby. If you get dragged into their rugby you’re playing into their hands so we need to keep the game to our advantage as much as possible.

“It’s going to be incredible. Munster organized it really well to help the fans with their buses.

“It’s going to be a great day and hopefully the drive back will be even sweeter.”

https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/time-running-out-for-damien-de-allende-to-make-an-impact-as-he-sets-to-depart-munster-41612319.html Time is running out for Damien de Allende to make a difference as he leaves Munster

Fry Electronics Team

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