Sun, 01 Nov 2020

Impressive Bulls winger Kurt-Lee Arendse will miss out on a guilt-edged chance to show his wares right in front of Springbok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and head coach Jacques Nienaber after missing his flight to Cape Town on Monday.

Arendse was picked by Springbok Green squad commissioner Erasmus, after Stormers winger Seabelo Senatla pulled out of Saturday's contest against Springbok Gold through a hamstring injury.

Sevens speedster Arendse, who along with fellow Blitzbok Stedman Gans, scythed the Sharks at Loftus last Saturday during the "Super Fan Saturday" friendly match that the Bulls won 49-28.

The 24-year-old scored a whimsical solo try that cut the Sharks defence to pieces and he had added his second of the afternoon by the 24th minute, by which time the Bulls were already out of sight.

Erasmus told media during one of this week's pre-Springbok Showdown press conferences that they were unsure as to the exact reasons for Arendse's missed flight but admitted that the winger changed selectors' minds about his inclusion into the 93-player original draft system that was whittled down to 50.

"There was a miscommunication and he couldn't get onto his flight. But there can be many reasons for that," said Erasmus.

"I'm not pointing fingers at Kurt-Lee but we must first find out why he was late for a flight. We could have gotten a later flight but we just decided to get Malcolm Jaer in there and on the bench we have Mnombo Zwelindaba, who was one of the young guns.

"Kurt-Lee Arendse was a stand-out player for the Bulls. He is one of those players that showed us on Saturday, 'Listen, you guys were wrong. I didn't make the 93 [but] I must actually play'.

"We love it when players prove us wrong."

An opening has opened up for Skosan, who scored against the Stormers last weekend, to put himself back into Springbok reckoning after earning the last of his 12 Test caps against Italy in 2017 under then coach Allister Coetzee.

Replacement outside back, Zwelindaba, one of the eight "Young Guns" in the Springbok Green side, was a member of the Junior Springbok squad that won the bronze medal at the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina. He, too, will have a window opened to seize a chance to impress the Bok top brass.

Bok prop sidelined

Elsewhere in the Springbok camp in Cape Town, Stormers tighthead Frans Malherbe has also been ruled out of the clash through injury, with Lions front-row pair Ruan Dreyer and Carlu Sadie coming on to start and fill the bench spot on the Gold squad, respectively.

Winger Sergeal Petersen has also been chalked off after suffering a soft muscle tissue tear ahead of last weekend's Stormers clash with the Lions. Springbok Courtnall Skosan has been pencilled in to take his place.

"On team Gold, there's an injury to Frans Malherbe, so Ruan Dreyer, who is on the bench, will move into the starting position," said Nienaber.

"We've got Carlu Sadie in from the Lions, so he will be on the bench. We also have Sergeal Petersen (injured), who didn't play on the weekend because they (Stormers) were managing his load.

"We desperately wanted to see him but he got an injury last Friday when he did some high speed running. It's a soft tissue injury that we assessed last night (Sunday) and decided it would be too risky for him to play. We got Courtnall Skosan in for him."

"We really wanted to see all three players in action, but due to injuries we won't have that opportunity," Nienaber added.

"That said, Courtnall is a Springbok so he knows what to expect at this level, while Carlu and Mnombo have come through the Junior Springbok structures and have great potential, so we are excited to see them in action."

Springbok head coach and Gold team commissioner, Jacques Nienaber, admitted that the injuries were unfortunate, but he was excited to see what Skosan, Sadie and Zwelendaba would bring to the match.

"We really wanted to see all three players in action, but due to injuries we won't have that opportunity," said Nienaber.

"That said, Courtnall is a Springbok so he knows what to expect at this level, while Carlu and Mnombo have come through the Junior Springbok structures and have great potential, so we are excited to see them in action."

The Springbok Gold and Green coaches, Deon Davids and Mzwandile Stick, will announce their match-day squads on Wednesday.

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