As Japan braced itself for landfall by the potentially devastating Typhoon Hagibis, the Springboks trained in windy and rainy conditions in Kobe - 450kms to the south west of the point of impact.
“It reminds me of Cape Town a bit but we’re expecting a lot more wind and rain than this so hopefully we won’t be out in that kind of weather,” said De Allende.
“We prepared to train in an indoor facility today but we couldn’t get in there so it was a bit unexpected but it was very nice [to train in the rain].
“It’s always nice to get in the rain a bit and test your skills and intensity in conditions like this because, who knows, we might play a match in the play offs in these conditions so it was very good.”
Working on those skill sets has been key for the Springboks as the global game goes through a period of intense evolution believes De Allende.
“I think the whole of world rugby has improved immensely,” he said.
“Sometimes me and Handre [Pollard] watch old World Cup games from 2015 and back then there was absolutely no line speed on defence! There was no pressure on the skillset or anything like that.
“We’ve all developed in that sense – whether we can play under that kind of pressure in terms of guys in your face and being able to make good decisions. I think the game has got a bit more structured as well.
“You’ve got to learn and accept that you’re not going to get a lot of turnovers and there’re going to be a lot more kicks on you and a lot more structured attack. I think that’s where we’ve developed in terms of South Africa going forward.”
There has also been a burgeoning partnership between De Allende and centre partner Lukhanyo Am. The pair have started as a combination in eight of the 17 tests since Rassie Erasmus began to direct team affairs. Only one of those eight matches has been lost – against New Zealand in the opening match of this Rugby World Cup tournament.
“The partnership has been going nicely,” said de Allende. “We played together a bit last year but we’re starting to get a real feel for each other and a lot better understanding of each other. It obviously doesn’t happen overnight.”
De Allende believes that as the global game has developed – requiring new tactics – so has the Springbok attack.
“In training the whole backline has been working on our attacking kicking game,” he said. “We have put a lot of time and effort into that and I felt last week against Canada we got that right in the first half.
“I know the scoreboard makes it look like we dominated them physically but I think a lot of decisions that were made on attack – whether to hold the ball of whether to put it in behind them – were good ones and I think that put them under a lot of pressure in the first 20 minutes.”
The remaining weeks of the tournament will be all about handling pressure – something De Allende experienced in the 2015 tournament, following the team’s opening round defeat by Japan.
“We got two points from that first game and I think this time we were actually under a lot more pressure [after failing to take any points in defeat by New Zealand].
“We knew we had to win three more games with a bonus point and I think that’s where the pressure came on us. Luckily we met those expectations.
“I think our best game yet was against Italy where we were under a lot of pressure. I think to get the bonus point try and keep them try-less was massive because they’d been playing good rugby against Namibia and Canada.
“They scored nice set piece tries against them but our forwards dominated the set piece area up front and we put them under pressure. When we got the opportunity to score tries we put them away quite nicely.”
The Springboks relocate from Kobe to Tokyo on Monday to prepare for next Sunday’s quarter-final.