CAPE TOWN – Kurt-Lee Arendse has got it, no doubt about that.
The fact that he was called up to the Blitzbok squad ahead of the Canada leg of the World Sevens Series should be an indication of that on its own, but if you’ve ever seen him work a rugby pitch, you’d know just how much of that “it” he’s got.
The 22-year-old University of the Western Cape student was called up as an injury replacement along with Zain Davids for Mfundo Ndhlovu and Ryan Oosthuizen.
And while Arendse described the emotions of the goosebumps moment he experienced when he got that call at 6.30 on Monday morning, it’s an opportunity he has been dreaming of. What up-and-coming Sevens talent doesn’t?
“It was still early in the morning, I was still in my room at SAS (Stellenbosch Academy of Sport) and I saw coach Marius (Schoeman) calling,” Arendse recalled.
“When I answered, he told me to start packing my bags, as I am going to join the Blitzboks in Canada. I could not believe it - it’s the call you were training for since you were little. I got goosebumps all over my body.”
The Paarl-raised Arendse only joined the SA Rugby Sevens Academy in December last year. He played in tournaments in Dubai and South America (in January) and still played in the opening round of the Varsity Cup last month, scoring a try for UWC against UCT.
“I think the trips to Dubai and South America did wonders for me, as I gained valuable experience playing Sevens,” said Arendse.
“It was always a dream of mine to play for the Blitzboks, so Sevens was part of what I wanted to do. When the call came, I was so happy and relieved, it was what I worked towards for a while now.”
Schoeman is another rugby figure who believes Arendse thoroughly deserves the opportunity.
“He has so much talent and will be better for the experience and if he gets the opportunity in Vancouver, he will step up,” Schoeman predicted.
“When I called him, he was a bit overwhelmed and I could hear how excited he was. And nervous, as Zain had to come and help him pack his bag.”