Vodacom Bulls coach Jake White says Test rookie Kurt-Lee Arendse will embrace the magnitude of the occasion when he makes his second start for the Springboks against the All Blacks on Saturday.
Arendse has been backed to fill the No 14 jersey vacated by the injured Cheslin Kolbe, who fractured his jaw in the series decider against Wales last month, when the Springboks take on the All Blacks in Nelspruit on Saturday.
The 26-year-old made his Test debut in a heavily altered Springbok lineup which suffered a last-gasp loss to Wales in Bloemfontein, but was among the few players who acquitted themselves well, making a few solid defensive hits and one or two linebreaks.
Having been schooled at Paulus Joubert Secondary in Paarl, Arendse had grasped every rugby opportunity that has come his way in his career, going from playing for the University of the Western Cape in the Varsity Shield to representing the Blitzboks in the World Sevens Series and then helping the Bulls win back-to-back Currie Cups and progress to the Vodacom United Rugby Championship final.
In an interview with Sport24, Bulls coach White explained that Arendse’s slight 76kg frame won’t count against him when some of the bigger All Blacks backs and forwards run at his channel in the Rugby Championship opener.
“The one thing about him is that he can do everything. He is quick, he’s got good feet, and he’s very brave in the contact areas as well,” White told the website.
“He may be a little guy, but he defends well and he’s resolute at the breakdown. He’s one of those guys where, the more he plays, the better he becomes.
“He’s one of the most consistent guys under the high ball for us. I know there will be a different kind of pressure as it is a Test match,” added White.
“They’re playing against the All Blacks, but the one thing about him is that the bigger the occasion, the better he plays. That’s the kind of guy he is.”
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