In a rugby World Cup final for the ages, South Africa’s triumph over New Zealand in 2023 will be remembered for many moments of brilliance, grit, and sheer determination. Yet, one standout incident that will forever be etched in the annals of rugby history is Kurt-Lee Arendse’s match-winning try-saving tackle on Reiko Ioane. This defensive masterstroke proved pivotal in securing South Africa’s third Rugby World Cup title.
The stage was set at the Stade de France, with the final contest between rugby titans South Africa and New Zealand living up to its billing. As the match entered its closing minutes, the score remained locked at 12 – 3 in favour of the Springboks. With time ticking away in the first half New Zealand orchestrated a scintillating attack that had the potential to bring them right back into the contest before halftime.
Reiko Ioane, New Zealand’s electrifying centre, received a deft pass from Beauden Barrett, creating an open path to the try line. With the crowd holding their collective breath, it appeared as though Ioane was destined to become the hero of the day, sealing a remarkable comeback for the All Blacks. However, fate had other plans.
Enter Kurt-Lee Arendse, a relatively unheralded but incredibly talented South African winger. Displaying a combination of incredible speed, anticipation, and raw determination, Arendse tracked Ioane down just meters from the try line. In a moment of sheer brilliance, he executed a textbook tackle that saw him wrap his arms around Ioane’s waist and drive him into touch. It was a try-saving tackle for the ages, one that had the South African bench and supporters erupting in jubilation.
Arendse’s remarkable feat epitomised the unwavering commitment and indomitable spirit of the South African team. It showcased the importance of never giving up, even when the odds seemed insurmountable. In the end, South Africa held on to secure a hard-fought 24-21 victory, with Arendse’s heroics earning him the title of a national hero.
Kurt-Lee Arendse’s try-saving tackle on Reiko Ioane will forever be remembered as a decisive moment in South Africa’s 2023 Rugby World Cup victory. It serves as a testament to the power of determination, teamwork, and the extraordinary moments that make rugby such a thrilling and enduring sport.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 28, 2023