Kurt-Lee Arendse has revealed his delight at being given his first-ever call-up to the Blitzboks squad for the Vancouver Sevens this weekend.
The Paarl-raised youngster only joined the SA Rugby Sevens Academy in December last year. He played in tournaments in Dubai and South America. He also made his Varsity Cup debut in UWC’s first-ever match in the competition against UCT in February.
He and forward Zain Davids will join the squad as injury cover for Mfundo Ndhluvo and Ryan Oosthuizen, who both picked up knocks in Las Vegas last weekend.
Arendse, still only 22 years old, relived the moment when Sevens Academy manager Marius Schoeman gave him his call-up on Monday morning after speaking to coach Neil Powell about replacements for Ndhlovu and Oosthuizen.
‘It was still early in the morning, I was still in my room at SAS (Stellenbosch Academy of Sport) and I saw coach Marius calling,’ Arendse said.
‘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.
‘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, who saw the potential in the side-stepping student last year when he excelled for UWC at the Varsity Cup Sevens, endorsed the inclusion of Arendse.
‘He has so much talent and will be better for the experience, and if he gets the opportunity in Vancouver, he will step up.
‘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.’
The Springbok Sevens team will face Chile, Wales and USA in Pool A of the Canada Sevens on Saturday.