University of the Western Cape (UWC) alumnus Kurt-Lee Arendse’s blossoming rugby career took another positive turn this week when he was named in the Team South Africa sevens rugby squad for the Olympic Games in Japan later this month.
Arendse, who is on the books of the Bulls, will form part of the 13-member Rugby Sevens South African team that has been drawn in Pool C alongside the United States, Ireland and Kenya for the much-anticipated games in Tokyo.
He is one of two UWC alumni thus far who are set to grace the Olympic stage this year after UWC former player and alumnus, Genevieve Lentz became the first African female to be selected as an Olympic Table Tennis deputy referee.
UWC Rugby head coach, Paul Treu, congratulated Arendse for his selection and said he deserved the recognition based on his good form and rise in rugby.
“For the last few years, Kurt-Lee has demonstrated that he is among the best rising stars in rugby. His sterling form for the Blitzboks and for the Bulls speaks volumes.
“As the University, we are proud to have had a player of his calibre. He is not just talented but also a dedicated, hard-working player, and is a beacon of hope for many youngsters, not only at UWC but in South Africa in general.”
UWC Director of Sport, Mandla Gagayi, echoed Treu’s sentiments and said this is well deserved for Arendse because he showed great form in both formats of the game - 7s and 15s.
“It is also wonderful for him to achieve his Olympic dream within a couple of years into his professional career. As UWC we are always proud to have our students and alumni turning up to represent the country,” said Gagayi.
The Paarl-born wing, who completed a Higher Certificate in Economic Development at UWC, has been a regular for the Blitzboks since he was selected for the Vancouver Sevens in 2019, where he made his debut in their 31–12 Cup semi-final victory over Fiji. In 2020, with no seven tournaments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he joined theBulls franchise in Pretoria in the Super Rugby campaign where he immediately made an impact.
The 25-year-old played for Boland Under-18 and for Western Province Under-19 before joining UWC in 2017, starring for both FNB Varsity Shield and Varsity 7s Rugby teams. On the back of being named the Back That Rocks in the 2018 FNB Varsity Shield, Arendse was also part of the South African Sevens Academy team which travelled to South America in January 2019 to play two tournaments, in Uruguay and in Chile. In the same year, he also played for UWC in the 2019 Varsity Cup season.
The soft-spoken Arendse, who registered for a Bachelor of Arts degree on campus, attended Paulus Joubert Secondary School in Paarl, where he earned a selection into the Boland Cavaliers’ sevens team that competed at the 2014 SARU Under-18 Sevens competition. He progressed through the youth ranks in rugby union, playing in several national junior competitions - he played for Western Province U19 in the 2015 Under-19 Provincial Championship, for Boland U20 in the 2016 Under-20 Provincial Championship and for Western Province U21 in the 2017 Under-21 Provincial Championship.