CAPE TOWN – Sometimes it takes just one performance to know that a player is “destined to do great things”.
Sometimes it doesn’t even take a whole game, maybe just a moment, or a few moments.
For new Blitzbok Kurt-Lee Arendse’s club coach Clement Trout, that moment was when the University of the Western Cape student scored a hat-trick in the opening half of his first Sevens game for UWC.
He impressed his UWC teammates, coach and supporters then... but it was at the weekend, less than two years later, that he impressed the entire Sevens world with his balling ability.
Even before his third tournament, which came in Singapore where the Blitzboks finished top of the podium after a stunning comeback win over Fiji, it was clear that Arendse is special.
“The future of Springbok Sevens!” was the reaction that came from the commentary box on Sunday when Arendse dived over the chalk for a try after spotting a gap and pacing through the Fijians to score.
And I’m sure that one voice was an echo to many, many others.
According to Trout, Arendse’s early performances in the big league came as no surprise to him.
“In his very first tournament he played for us he scored a hat-trick in the first half of the game, and there I knew he was destined for great things,” Trout said.
“The first time I saw Kurt-Lee was during a Fifteens training session in 2017. There was just something about this boy, so afterwards I went to him and spoke to him,” Trout explained.
“When he joined UWC Sevens he was a natural fit. I think the game was designed for him.”
What Arendse can do on a rugby field, we’ve all seen. Trout explained that it’s everything he brings, in addition to all that talent that makes him such a good fit.
“He listens very well and he implements. So imagine you have a player like that, one who listens and implements what he’s learnt... that, aligned with his natural ability..., this is the result that you get.”
“He’s a very humble and respectful young man with good principles and morals, and that means a lot. He’s loyal. His character alone says a lot. He has a good personality and a calm demeanor. He’s funny as well.”
Can he get better? Sure. You always can. Does he have weaknesses? Perhaps.
“He loves his KFC,” Trout chuckled. “I do too, that’s why we get on so well.”
But on a serious note...
“Working with him was an absolute pleasure. From a player’s point of view I learnt so much from him as well. He’s very coachable, irrespective of his natural talent,” Trout said. “It’s no surprise to me that he’s doing well on the big stage. He is the future.”
Just ahead of the @varsitycup I spoke to a very modest and humble Kurt-Lee Arendse about what it meant for UWC to be playing in the tournament. Just a few short months later he is starring for the @Blitzboks. Deserves all the success coming his way! pic.twitter.com/JT77wYzYQg— Gasant Abarder (@GasantAbarder) April 15, 2019
As his UWC coach and an excited voice from the media box at the National Stadium shouted; he is the future.
And his first few outings on the circuit haven’t given us any reason to disagree.@WynonaLouw