Spies back in Bok picture

2015-05-05 18:44
Pierre Spies (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - As an extra lineout option, Bulls No 8 Pierre Spies could find his way into the Springbok squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England and Wales later this year.

Following a two-year layoff due to injury, the athletic loose forward is starting to show the form that saw him emerge as one of the finest No 8s in world rugby eight years ago.

Spies suffered a biceps injury in 2013 which saw him miss a large part of that season before he injured the same muscle at the start of 2014 to rule him out of rugby for nearly two years.

He last featured for the Springboks in their 53-23 victory over Samoa in Pretoria in June 2013.

The 29-year-old is back in the national fold for the first time in two years after being called up for the first of two Springbok training camps this week.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said on Monday his protégé has been in superb form despite detractors saying he lacked the physicality of traditional eighthmen.

“He’s always been a great player and people have been harsh on him, he’s been injured for two years and it is tough to come back and then get another injury,” Meyer said.

“Pierre is back to his best and I believe he can play better, but he is putting pressure on the other guys.”

Meyer was quick to point out South Africa’s embarrassment of riches among the loose forwards and intimated that Spies had some way to go if he was to beat off the competition for a golden ticket.

The Bok mentor said he would have to carefully weigh up his options when selecting the final 31-member squad.

“Out of your 31, nine must come from your front row and if you look at your other positions you could go with four locks and five loose forwards,” Meyer said.

“To go pick five loose forwards from 12 world-class players that is going to be very difficult.”

That is where Spies’ versatility, particularly as an extra lineout option gives him a slight edge over some of his competitors.

Over the past two years the Bulls player had to watch from the sidelines as Stormers eighthman Duane Vermeulen emerged as one of the best No8s in the world.

It would take an extraordinary effort from Spies to wrest the jersey from Vermeulen’s vice-like grip but it is an open contest for the position as hid understudy.

Read more on:    springboks  |  rwc 2015  |  pierre spies  |  rugby

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