Arendse was one of three new players in the Springbok starting lineup for the clash, with the Blitzbok speedster coming in as an injury replacement for Cheslin Kolbe, who is recovering from a broken jaw. The other changes were Malcolm Marx starting at hooker in his 50th Test in place of Bongi Mbonambi, while Faf de Klerk comes in for Jaden Hendrikse at scrumhalf.
“I am very grateful for this opportunity,” said Arendse at the team's base in Nelspruit on Wednesday.
“It’s a real privilege to follow in Cheslin’s footsteps. Cheslin has a good sidestep and he is strong in the air and a very explosive player, so there is a lot to admire about him.”
Of his meteoric rise to the Springbok team after playing for the Blitzboks last year, Arendse said: “I didn’t think a year ago that I would play for the Springboks, so I’m extremely grateful for this chance and hopefully I can grab it with both hands.”
Both Arendse and Springbok utility forward Franco Mostert anticipated an epic encounter against the All Blacks and said they would bring their best despite coming off a series defeat against Ireland.
“New Zealand are a skillful side and they like to run the ball, but as a team we are focused on what we have been preparing for” said Arendse.
Mostert added: “We spoke about it this morning that there are no senior players in this squad. There are guys in the side that have faced the All Blacks before, and they know that even with their backs against the wall they are a dangerous team, and they will always bring their best to the field.”
Mostert objected to suggestions that the Springboks will enter the clash and favourites.
“I won’t say there is a favourite for this game to be honest," said the versatile forward, who has played Tests at lock and blindside flanker.
“The All Blacks are world class despite their series defeat against Ireland, and we come off a defeat and two wins in our last three matches, so both teams will be hungry for a win. I think it will be a great match.”
Mostert also looked forward to facing the haka again and said: “It is always a privilege to play against the All Blacks and to face the haka.
“I always enjoy facing the haka because it psyches one up even more for the game, and I think it will be special for the young players who have never faced it before like Kurt-Lee and Salmaan (Moerat – replacement lock).”