Kurt-Lee Arendse (Gallo Images)
- The Bulls are planning to play the majority of the year without star wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, who’s back full-time with the Blitzboks ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
- Bulls mentor Jake White says he’d like to arrive at a “win-win situation” after the showpiece event as he wants the 25-year-old back at the franchise.
- Meanwhile, the Bulls have more than compensated for the void with the signing of Madosh Tambwe, who’s already been thrust into action.
He’s eager to make Kurt-Lee Arendse a full-time member of his squad, but Jake White, the Bulls’ director of rugby, respects the hasty winger’s status as a key Blitzboks member in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics later this year.
The 24-year-old Arendse proved a real find in last season’s domestic campaign, impressing with an almost seamless transition into the fifteen-man game and becoming one of the Bulls’ main attacking threats.
But his contract with SA Rugby means he’s back in Stellenbosch with the national sevens team.
15 David Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 WJ Steenkamp, 7 Tim Agaba, 6 Nizaam Carr (captain), 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Jan Uys, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Joe van Zyl, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp
Substitutes: 16 Janco Uys, 17 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 18 Gerhard van der Merwe, 19 Raynard Roets, 20 Uzile Tele, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Jandre Burger, 23 Diego Appollis
Eastern Province Elephants
15 Riaan Arendse, 14 Josiah Twum-Boafo, 13 Christopher Hollis, 12 Sherwin Slater, 11 Qeuntyne Oerson, 10 Inny Radebe (captain), 9 Luvo Claasen, 8 Luigy van Jaarsveld, 7 Anele Lungisa, 6 CJ Velleman, 5 Mncedisi Diwegu, 4 Athenkosi Manele, 3 Lupumlo Mguca, 2 Robin Stevens, 1 Lyle Lombard
Substitutes: 16 Sithembiso Befile, 17 Siyakubonga Nzuzo, 18 Emile Klaasen, 19 Ronald Sheckle, 20 Arnold Kleyne, 21 Diego Williams, 22 Josh Allderman, 23 Keanu Vers
“He’s not with us. With the Olympics coming up in June and all the preparation they need to do, Kurt-Lee is still a massive part of their planning,” said White, ahead of Sunday’s preparation series match against the Eastern Province Elephants at Loftus.
“I wouldn’t expect any guy to miss a showpiece tournament like the Olympics. It’s a serious event.”
However, that hasn’t discouraged White from already meeting with the Blitzboks’ brains trust to find a solution once the side’s tilt at a Gold medal is complete.
“I’ve met with Neil (Powell) and Marius (Schoeman) and we need to find a way. Kurt-Lee would like to play fifteens and we’d like to have him as part of the Bulls,” said the former Springbok coach.
“What we’ll try and do is find a win-win situation. They need him now full-time to prepare, which is more than fair. We’ll just keep communicating. At this stage, we’re preparing as if his going to the Olympics.”
Another Blitzboks star, Stedman Gans, is not in the same boat as he’s contracted to the Bulls.
Arendse’s absence though is compensated for by the arrival of Madosh Tambwe from the Sharks.
The lanky 23-year-old winger was signed last week and has been thrust into action immediately, an indication of how important his presence might become with the Rainbow Cup looming.
“I’m quite impressed with Madosh,” said White.
“He’s obviously incredibly quick and played fullback at Parktown Boys High. I was at Jeppe, so I know a lot about where he played and whom his coaches were.
“I’m looking forward to working with him. He had an incredible season when he first started for the Sharks. The way we play, we can really use a finisher like him. That’s why he’s in the team already, I want to give him as many games as possible.
“I want him getting used to the way we play and when we start the next competition, he’s hopefully on song.”
Kick-off on Sunday is at 15:00.