Vodacom Bulls coach Jake White believes exposing Kurt-Lee Arendse to game time at fullback could help put him in a ‘good position to play for the Springboks some day’, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Arendse has been one of the bright lights throughout the domestic season, making a seamless transition to fifteens along with several other sevens stars who have impressively transitioned to the longer form of the game.
The 24-year-old has showcased his blitz pace and attacking strengths on the wing for the Bulls, but White has opted to shift him to the No 15 jersey in an experimental positional switch for this Saturday’s clash against the Cheetahs.
As White mentioned during a virtual press conference on Thursday, he sees long-term value in test out some new-look combinations, while he believes Arendse’s ability to kick off both feet will be an added bonus to giving him a run at fullback.
‘He’s still relatively new to the group, but he’s growing every day,’ White commented. ‘He’s talking a bit more, he’s more confident. It’s an exciting time.
‘There aren’t a lot of fullbacks putting up their hands in South African rugby at the moment and if Kurt-Lee can play wing and fullback, he’s putting himself in a pretty good position to play for the Springboks some day.’
It’s well known that Arendse has been inspired by the success and progress of fellow former sevens stars Cheslin Koble and Gio Aplon, with the latter now also part of the Bulls setup.
‘Kurt-Lee says himself that Gio was his idol as a youngster,’ White commented.
‘He spends a lot of time with him. I’ve seen Kurt-Lee do things at training that have been phenomenal. I’ve got no doubt that if we give him game-time he’ll just get even better. We’ve seen already how he’s finished opportunities from nothing really. In open space, more time, if he can be in more one-on-one positions, we’ll see the best of him.
‘I consider him a definite counter-attacking force. And if we can develop another Gio or Cheslin for the local game, then it can only benefit us.’
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