Durban — Kurt-Lee Arendse says he will be calling Cheslin Kolbe for some last-minute tips before he pulls on the Springbok No 14 jersey to play the All Blacks on Saturday at the Mbombela Stadium.
Arendse is in the pretty cool position of taking over from a revered player who is not only his hero but also his friend, and it is perhaps no coincidence that coach Jacques Nienaber said that in picking Arendse for the injured Kolbe, he was getting “like for like”.
“It is a privilege to follow in the footsteps of Cheslin and I will definitely be calling him later this week,” Arendse said at the Boks’ team hotel in Nelspruit. “I am flattered that people see comparisons in the way we play because Cheslin has such a good step, he is good in the air and very explosive of the mark.
“So there is a lot to admire about Cheslin but it is his defence that I like the most,” the 26-year-old said. “Everyone sees how great he is on the attack but I also find his defence amazing and I actually regard making my tackles as my primary function.”
Arendse’s selection this week caps an extraordinary 12 months for him. A year ago he was with the Blitzboks and now he has made his 15s debut against Wales and is in the team for the biggest challenge of them all — facing the All Blacks.
“A year ago I had zero expectations of playing for the Springboks,” he smiled. “I never thought that was going to happen, so for things to have worked out as they have … I am very grateful, and pulling that jersey over my head is a privilege I have to make count.”