Damian de Allende doesn’t want to hang around the Stormers camp at the moment.
It’s not because the Springbok centre is sulking because he’s missing out on the brilliant vibe in the team.
Instead, it’s a way of keeping his recovery from an ankle injury – a period of 12 weeks – as smooth as possible.
A healthy mental state is sometimes more important than physical rest.
“I still support the boys 100%,” said De Allende.
“It’s not great to watch when you’re not part of the campaign but thankfully the guys are winning. Otherwise it would’ve been really torturous.”
As a result, he’s completed a personal rehab programme.
“I’m recovering on my own,” said De Allende.
“Once I’ve done that, I’ll immediately join my teammates again. I really don’t want to be in camp now.
“It’s no use for me to sit around there and absorb all the stuff we’re being taught when I can’t implement it. That will frustrate any player endlessly. Frustration is not a good thing for a player trying to recover from a serious injury.”
Yet it’s also a sign of growing maturity from the 25-year-old midfielder.
Considered one of the young stars under former Bok coach Heyneke Meyer two years ago, De Allende has struggled to build on that good start.
Not being preoccupied with how the Stormers are going to date is a sign of him just trying to get himself in a good space again.
“I know more than anyone that when I come back, I’ll need to work really hard,” said De Allende.
“Last year wasn’t a great campaign, I let myself down at times. It’s really important for me to be a better player when I return. Currently, I’m just hoping to stay injury-free after this to build on something.”
He doesn’t deny though that the Stormers’ skills coach, New Zealander Paul Feeney, has transformed the Capetonians’ product.
“Paul’s got a lot to offer. He’s influenced everyone, players and coaches, positively,” said De Allende.
“Most importantly, he’s changed our mindset. He’s helped us believe that we can do different things skilfully on the field.”