Kurt-Lee uses All Black heartache to return to Springbok fold with a bang: 'I needed it'

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  • Kurt-Lee Arendse says it was "special" that Bulls teammate Canan Moodie supplied the pass that saw him score for the Springboks in Durban. 
  • The former Blitzboks star has used the time off from a four-game ban well and believes it's made him stronger.
  • Importantly, his try was a timely reminder of his credentials for staying in the mix, especially given Moodie's rise.

Given how he's taken the 15-man game by storm, it wasn't exactly surprising that Kurt-Lee Arendse's return in a Springbok jersey was notable.

Following a four-week ban for a dangerous tackle on All Blacks star Beauden Barrett, the former Blitzboks star made it seem like he was never gone by rounding off the South Africans' fifth and final try in last weekend's 38-21 win over Argentina in Durban.

It was a bittersweet moment for the team itself as the Boks failed to overhaul the New Zealanders' superior points difference for a Rugby Championship title, but a triumph for Arendse.

Appropriately, the scoring pass came from his Bulls teammate and fellow rising star Canan Moodie.

"That was special. It really meant a lot to me, especially that it was Canan who gave me the ball. I'm just happy we won this match," said Arendse.

"The guys are obviously a bit disappointed that they didn't reach the required amount of points, but I can assure you this victory will still be celebrated.

"We'll look at the areas where we need to improve and take that forward with us."

Despite the disappointment of the suspension, Arendse reiterated that he spent the time off wisely.

"While I was out, a took a lot of time to think about where I can improve my game. That All Blacks match, in hindsight, was a great learning experience," said the 26-year-old.

"Everything happens for a reason and I believe the time out of the game did me good. I came back stronger, so I'm grateful for the break."

Arendse's final show-stopping contribution was perhaps timely given that first-choice right wing, Cheslin Kolbe, is expected to return at some stage during the year-end tour as well as, ironically, the fine impression made by Moodie.

"The competition in the position is really good," he said.

"As players, we need that. The last thing you want is to fall into a comfort zone. Every opportunity you get to pull that jersey over your head needs to be embraced.

"It's really special." 

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