Springbok speedster Kurt-Lee Arendse is fired up and ready to step into the massive shoes of Cheslin Kolbe when he lines up on the right wing against the All Blacks in the opening game of the Rugby Championship at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.
The inexperienced Arendse, who will be playing in just his second ever Test, has been backed to replace the injured Kolbe, who broke his jaw during the third Test decider against Wales in mid-July and is ruled out until at least September.
Arendse now takes on an important role in the Bok set-up and will need to be at his vary best against the All Blacks.
“I am really grateful for the opportunity and it is a privilege to follow in Cheslin’s footsteps. He has a good step, he’s good in the air and he’s very explosive, so there is a lot to admire about him,” said Arendse.
“The All Blacks are a really skilful side and like to run the ball, but I am just focusing on what we prepped on during the week.”
“I am ready to play. During the game I always remind myself that there is always a next job to do. So if I make a mistake, just forget about it and move onto the next job.”
Last year around this time Arendse was still part of the Springbok Sevens set-up and hadn’t fully committed himself to the 15s game yet, but in just a year he enjoyed a superb season playing for the Bulls in the United Rugby Championship and was rewarded with a Bok call-up.
Now he will play in his second Test against one of the best teams in the world and front up against a number of star players.
“I never thought I would play for the Springboks a year ago, but I am really grateful for the opportunity and every time I get to put the Springbok jersey over my head, then I have to take that opportunity with both hands,” said Arendse.
“It’s nice to play against guys like Will Jordan and Sevu Reece. They are good players and you want to prove something against those guys because they are the best (in their positions).”