Former sevens star Kurt-Lee Arendse was inspired to not give up on his Springbok dream by fellow pocket rockets Cheslin Kolbe and Gio Aplon.
Arendse – one of six players in line to make their Bok debuts on Saturday after being named on the right wing to face Wales – represented the Blitzboks and starred in the recent Vodacom United Rugby Championship for the Vodacom Bulls.
But, the 26-year-old speedster says there was a time in his career when he thought his aspirations of representing his country at Test level would go unfulfilled.
Relishing the opportunity to run out in the green and gold for the Springboks against Wales in Bloemfontein, Arendse said: “There was definitely a period where I wanted to give up on the dream of being a Springbok.
“But, I then always reminded myself of the achievements of Cheslin Kolbe and Gio Aplon. I realised that if they could make it, I could too.
“That was always enough to just keep me motivated.
“I never thought I would be selected for the Springboks so early in my career, so I am very grateful for the opportunity,” said Arendse.
“How the sevens structures operate is very similar to the 15s systems, so it is great to be here and to keep learning.”
He added: “There were nerves when I heard I was selected for the team, and there are still a little nerves but I am just planning to take each day in my stride.”
Asked if he realised what an honour it was to be one of only a handful of players to run out for the Springboks and Blitzboks, he said: “To be honest, I never thought about it. For me, all I’ll like to do is give my best on the field and enjoy the occasion.”
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) July 7, 2022