Damian De Allende has paid tribute to Munster’s supporters after playing at a packed Thomond Park for the first time.
Springboks centre De Allende made his debut for Munster back in August 2020, but due to Covid-19 restrictions and international duties, the 30-year-old has never gotten the chance to play in front of supporters at Thomond Park.
That changed last night, as De Allende and Munster took on Castres in front of the Thomond Park faithful in the latest round of the Heineken Champions Cup.
De Allende was speaking to BT Sport after the match and expressed his gratitude to Munster’s fans while admitting that the team were disappointed with their performance, despite claiming a 19-13 win.
Damian De Allende thanks the Munster fans.
“I thought when we held onto the ball we did very well and we got metres, but I think we tried to look for the offload too much. It was just that final pass,” De Allende explained.
“It was just a little bit frustrating where we felt like we should have scored, but we didn’t. We’re still happy to get the win but I think we left a little bit out there. It’s a very good win but I think the boys just feel a little bit disappointed.
“I’ve been here for about a year and a half now and it’s my first time experiencing a crowd here. It’s been a flipping good experience. Even last week against Wasps it was very awesome to see the supporters there.
“I’m very grateful to see the supporters out here tonight. It was a very cool experience.”
Almost 18 months at Munster, but that was Damian de Allende’s first taste of playing in front of supporters at Thomond Park.
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) December 18, 2021
The southern province ground out a win.
It was far from pretty, but Munster did ultimately manage to grind out a victory in a turgid affair at Thomond Park to make it two wins from two in the Champions Cup.
Munster welcomed back several senior players to their match-day squad, after handing out senior debuts to 12 players last weekend due to the large number of unavailable players, although the two-time European champions actually played much better against Wasps.
Nonetheless, Munster now look almost certain to progress to the last 16 of the Champions Cup after winning in front of their largest home crowd since the outbreak of the pandemic.
An even larger crowd was set to turn up at Thomond Park next weekend against Leinster, as the game was sold out, but only 5,000 fans will be permitted to attend after the tightening of Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland.