‘De Allende’s hands better than many realise’

Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck has given a ringing endorsement to centre Damian de Allende ahead of this weekend's Super Rugby quarter-final.

De Allende enjoyed one of his better games of the year last weekend against the Kings, with the Springbok centre gradually working his way back to top form after he missed the start of the season through injury.

"With Damian I said to you guys that it would take a bit of time. He came off a big injury," Fleck told reporters.

"This weekend (against the Kings) I felt that the communication in the backline was excellent… and that alerts Damian to the fact that these guys are in space.

"That allowed Damian to release his outside backs a little bit more this weekend.

"He said to me personally that he felt the communication was excellent and that allowed him to straighten the line and still look for that pass."

De Allende's qualities as a powerful carrier in midfield have led him to being capped 16 times by South Africa, including 15 starts, but that hasn't stopped the 24-year-old from coming in for criticism about being too one-dimensoinal.

Fleck however believes De Allende's passing ability is better than people realise, and that perhaps the overall style of play in South Africa is actually to blame.

"What makes him dangerous is that he can get you over that advantage line at any stage, even if there’s a brick wall in front of him, but he’s got that ability to pass both sides," added Fleck.

"We haven’t seen it enough in South African rugby but I can tell you that he can pass both ways exceptionally well and he can offload in the tackle exceptionally well.

"I think it’s the guys around him who need to operate a little bit better, to be honest."