Just two games into his Munster career, Damian de Allende has the chance to secure a final place with his third on Friday.

The World Cup-winning centre joined up along with fellow Springbok RG Snyman over the summer but unlike the latter, who suffered the misfortune of a cruciate ligament tear just minutes into his debut, De Allende came through the Guinness Pro14 games against Leinster and Connacht successfully.

This weekend, Munster face Leinster for the second time in under two weeks, hoping to avoid three semi-final defeats in a row to their Irish rivals. 

"They are probably the number one or two team in the world at club level, it was quite challenging," says the 28-year-old of Munster's recent 27-25 defeat.

"It was a good test for us as a team going forward. 

"Obviously, we had quite a few new guys coming in as well that got a run, so we held up quite well in that first game and last week was a bit better in terms of the result we got, but also it was very good for the semi-final.

Damian De Allende makes a break against Connacht

"Connacht were very physical on the field and they brought a lot of energy and it felt like we needed a tough game like that leading up to this Friday night.

"Friday night is going to be a very tough encounter but hopefully we will pitch up. It's a short turnaround but we know it’s just a mental thing. We haven’t played a lot of rugby over the last six months so there are going to be sore bodies still on Thursday night.

"But if we get the right mindset and we pitch up on Friday night knowing we’ve got one opportunity and forgetting about everything in the past and not worrying about the final, just staying in the moment for 80 minutes, hopefully we can walk off with big smiles on our faces."

As for his thoughts on the most enduring rivalry in Irish provincial rugby, De Allende added: "For me, it's very similar to when I played at the Stormers and we played against the Bulls, it's like the north-south derby. 

"It's very personal, very physical, it gets quite intense on the field even though you have massive respect for each other.

"I'm not Irish, but there's that Irish culture of competing for spots to play for Ireland so they will go all out in the game but still they have respect for each other on and off the pitch. 

"I probably need to play a few more, like other guys have, but I certainly do understand the way they see it. It's very encouraging and it makes me want to help to beat them as well, which is quite nice".

Garry Ringrose (L) and Robbie Henshaw have 72 Ireland caps between them

De Allende has quickly formed a good centre partnership with Chris Farrell but is aware that in Leinster's 12 & 13 duo of Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose they will have their work cut out on Friday.

Ringrose scored a try from a Henshaw grubber kick against Munster last time out.

"They're both world-class centres and both have been very good at international level as well," said De Allende.

"Leinster were very good, they put in some nice kicks behind us, they have very nice skills, so we know we can't get caught at the breakdown.

"Sometimes you are committing too many guys, especially in our defensive line, so we know if we commit too many guys and we’re short on defence, they’ll exploit us very easily and they did so in that first game, so we need to be quite aware of that.

"They’re also very physical and very fast, both have very good feet, so we’ll have to be switched on with all cylinders to try and tame them as much as we can."

"They have the credentials and the coaching staff and the players and heart"

De Allende says he was drawn to Munster due to their staff, culture and hunger for trophies.

"For me, personally, no matter where I play I always strive to win tournaments and championships," he said today.

"I signed for Munster because I feel that they have the credentials and the coaching staff and the players and heart. From what I've seen on TV, obviously I’ve only played two games here, but I feel they have that team environment that they actually want to achieve.

"You could go to another squad where they have all the stars and the names in their team but it’s like they don’t want that success or they’re not working for that success.

"I feel, even before the two games, there’s a real energy and desire not just to get to a semi-final or final but to actually win semi-finals and finals. And not just once or twice, but consistently in the Pro14 and Champions Cup as well."

Follow the Pro14 semi-final between Leinster and Munster (7.35pm Friday) with our live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app or listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1.