Springboks young guns not feeling pressure

Date published: October 16 2015

World Cup debutants Handre Pollard, Jesse Kriel and Damian de Allende all feel they have been granted the freedom to express themselves at this year's tournament

This is primarily because they are surrounded by vastly experienced players but also because they have developed a sound understanding of each other's games in the build-up to and during the World Cup.

None of the three players have the burden of past experiences at this year's tournament – the quarter-final defeat at the 2011 World Cup and the successful 2007 campaign. Naturally, they won't feel the same kind of pressures that some of the more experienced campaigners will feel.

"I don't really feel there is any big pressure on us," said de Allende ahead of the team's quarter-final fixture against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday. 

"…because senior players like Bryan (Habana) are happy to take that pressure for us and this is not a team where the senior guys exert any extra pressure on the youngsters."

In addition to Habana, the trio will also have the support of captain Fourie du Preez at scrum-half and JP Pietersen on the wing. De Allende said the influence of the trio had been positive in every respect.

"They don't guide us by attacking us if we make mistakes, instead they guide us by giving advice and by encouraging us, and that makes a huge difference," said the Springbok centre. 

"It makes for a very healthy team environment, and allows Handre, Jesse and myself to grow and feel free to express ourselves. We are not made to feel that making a mistake means the end of the world."

The young backs understand that they still have a considerable amount of developing to do, and a lot of that will have to be done during the most critical stages of this World Cup. However, de Allende has clearly embraced that challenge and feels that his young teammates have too.

"We know we all have a long way to go as players, and have a lot of growing to do, and Saturday will be massive for all three of us, but I wouldn't say there's any great pressure," explained de Allende.

"I'm not a guy who worries too much about pressure, and I know that Handre and Jesse are the same. We've come a long way in the last few months and have a great understanding on the field and off it, where we've become great friends."