Currie Cup

Jake raves over Kurt-Lee Arendse's switch to 15: He can become a Bok in that position

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Kurt-Lee Arendse (Gallo Images)
Kurt-Lee Arendse (Gallo Images)
  • Jake White believes he owes it to Kurt-Lee Arendse and David Kriel's development to switch them between fullback and wing for the Bulls.
  • Yet it's the selection of Blitzboks star Arendse in the No 15 jersey that's eliciting most of the attention.
  • White hopes the extra space will allow the 24-year-old to grow further and even put him in a position to become a Springbok.

Israel Dagg and Cory Jane, Jordie Barrett and Nehe Milner-Skudder, Kurt-Lee Arendse and David Kriel.

See the connection? 

Jake White, the Bulls' director of rugby, has merely followed well established New Zealand rugby logic in explaining the switching of his two playmakers in the back three for Saturday's Currie Cup meeting with the Cheetahs at Loftus.

"Like those All Blacks, Kurt-Lee and David can both play wing or fullback," he said on Thursday.

"It's an area where I think I'd like to develop them both. It's good for their rugby to be exposed to both positions. David has only played at fullback, Kurt-Lee on the wing.

"I'd like to see what Kurt-Lee does when he's afforded a bit more space. He kicks with both feet and I'd like to see how he adapts."

The 24-year-old Blitzbok star has made a superb transition to the 15-man format, laying down an immediate marker back at the end of September when he scored a brace on his Bulls debut during Super Fan Saturday.

Backed to the hilt by White ever since, Arendse is now seemingly primed for some further evolution to his game.

"A sevens player like him have incredible skills and work ethic," said White.

"It goes for all of them. Kurt-Lee is unbelievable in open space, has unbelievable feet. His kicking ability is a bonus also because it's not like he'll be cornered and only be able to kick off one foot."

Initially a bit shy, Arendse is steadily making his mark at Loftus.

"He's still relatively new to the group, but he's growing every day," said White.

"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."

Even from a more physical perspective, Arendse's switch to the No 15 jersey makes increasing sense, especially since he easily draws comparison with Bok pocket rockets Gio Aplon and Cheslin Koble.

Rather appropriately the sevens stalwart has unashamedly taken his evergreen, 38-year-old team-mate Aplon as mentor and inspiration.

"Kurt-Lee says himself that Gio was his idol as a youngster," said White.

"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."

Kick-off at Loftus is at 16:30.



15 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 14 David Kriel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp

Substitutes: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Marnus Potgieter


15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rhyno Smith, 13 Howard Mnisi, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Carl Wegner (captain), 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Boan Venter

Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 Chris Massyn, 20 George Cronje, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 William Small-Smith

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