Bok centre pairing Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am in action. Photo: Morgan Treacy/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

Bok centre pairing Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am in action. Photo: Morgan Treacy/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

De Allende-Am centre pairing set for another MILESTONE

Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am are set to surpass iconic Bok duo De Wet Barry and Marius Joubert as the second-most capped centre pairing.

Bok centre pairing Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am in action. Photo: Morgan Treacy/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

Bok centre pairing Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am in action. Photo: Morgan Treacy/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

De Allende and Am have featured as the Boks’ starting midfield pairing in 18 Tests, with last weekend’s clash against Scotland drawing them level with Barry and Joubert, who were one of the most revered South African midfield duos.

However, De Allende and Am are now set to move into second place on the Springboks’ all-time centre pairing list after being named to start alongside each other against England this weekend.

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Still in another league altogether, Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie remain the most iconic Springbok midfield duo, and famously seemed to almost be able to read each other’s mind when it came to orchestrating backline plays for a decade between 2003 and 2013.

Yet, without much fuss or fanfare, De Allende and Am have begun to move into a modern-day class of their own.

If De Allende is the Boks’ blunt-force weapon in the midfield, Am strikes just as incisively with pinpoint defensive reads and subtle touches on attack such as the famous no-look pass in the World Cup final.

It’s been a period of widespread milestones for the Springbok squad. De Allende himself earned his 50th Test cap earlier this year, following on from Steven Kitshoff, Handre Pollard, Lood de Jager, Trevor Nyakane, Franco Mostert and Jesse Kriel recently.

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It all paints a picture of a Springbok squad that will boast remarkable experience when the defence of their World Cup title rolls around in 2023.

All of a sudden, that tournament doesn’t actually feel that far away. Yet there is plenty of Test match rugby still to be played before that global showpiece, and nothing to suggest that De Allende and Am won’t continue to evolve and expand their midfield partnership.

Becoming the Springboks’ most-ever capped centre combination will certainly not be on their radar, but it’s also not an insignificant prospect.

They are now set to move just 10 appearances away from the 29-Test pairing record of De Villiers and Fourie, and with the amount of international rugby on the calendar nowadays, that number is really not that far away.

Similarly, Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard (21 Tests as a halfback duo) have already surpassed Fourie du Preez and Morne Steyn (19) to move into second place on the halfback combinations list, and are also well in line to go beyond Joost van der Westhuizen and Henry Honiball (24) to become the Boks’ leading 9-10 combination in Bok history.

Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager (26 Tests together) won’t go beyond the famed lock combination of Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha (63), but they too have moved into second spot in the Bok record books after going past Mark Andrews and Krynauw Otto (25).

This current class of Springbok players are increasingly establishing themselves as one of the greatest generations in the modern era.

De Allende and Am, with plenty of Test rugby ahead of them, could especially go down as arguably the best-ever Springbok centre pairing.

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