On Saturday, the midfield duo of De Allende and Am will partner for the 22nd time, four more than De Wet Barry and Marius Joubert (18), but still seven short of the record of 29 Tests together at centre for the Boks, which is held by Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie.

The skillful duo, who proved to be key members of the triumphant Springbok team at the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and earlier this year in the Castle Lager Lions Series, have established themselves as South Africa's first-choice midfield pairing in the last few seasons thanks to their impressive skills, ability to read a game, and ability to create opportunities, and De Allende is relishing every moment of it.

“Lukhanyo and I have a very strong bond and it helps that we get along so well off the field,” said De Allende, who has played in 57 Tests since his debut against Argentina in 2014.

“Every game presents its own challenges, but we are very composed on the field.

“We chat a lot during a game and try to stay in the moment, and our mindset is always to be ready for any opportunities that come our way whether that is making a big tackle, getting a steal at a breakdown or making a nice play on attack.”

De Allende added: “We have a good feeling for one another so if I do something on the field, he’s there to back me up and vice versa. Our communication is also exceptional and I think that helps a lot.

“It’s great that we play rugby the way we do and that we have such a good understanding of one another.”

With a big challenge looming against England in the team’s final Castle Lager Outgoing Tour match, De Allende looked forward to the possibility of lining up against Manu Tuilagi.

“Playing against Manu in the Rugby World Cup final was a great privilege - I have a lot of respect for him," said De Allende.

“As players we always want to test ourselves against the best in the world and he’s right up there. It is unfortunate that Owen Farrell suffered an injury last week, but I’ll enjoy the battle against him (Tuilagi) if he plays.”

Speaking about the team’s mindset going into the match after what has been a testing season, De Allende said: “It’s been a challenging year. We were in a bubble during the Tests against the British & Irish Lions and that was quite tough on us mentally, but we got through it nicely.

“It’s been incredible to be with the guys again. There is one more big game this weekend, and we obviously want to finish off on a high because won’t see each other for the next seven months.”

Veteran Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen, meanwhile, praised his team-mate for the strides he had made in his career since meeting him as a young university rugby player.

“Several years ago, Damian was a UCT (University of Cape Town) boy who came to train with the Stormers and I was the unlucky guy to hold the tackle bag when he had to tackle," said Vermeulen.

“I then went to (Springbok head coach) Jacques Nienaber, who was then a Stormers assitant coach, and said we should sign him, and I don’t think they thought about it twice.

“He was soon in the Stormers team and a few years later in the Springbok team, and looking back at the UCT player I met and now, he’s really grown a lot, not only a player, but also as a good leader in the group.

“He has a lot of experience and he speaks a lot within the group, and I think there are still a lot of things that lie ahead of him in the future.”