Pierre Spies is on the ball again

2015-01-25 15:00

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Former Springbok number 8 Pierre Spies has not given up on his dream of playing in a winning Springbok side at the World Cup, and is one of a number of players out to resurrect their careers in the Super Rugby tournament.

Spies is due to make his long-awaited comeback against English champions Saracens at Allianz Park in London on Saturday after two serious biceps injuries.

At the media launch of a new partnership between South African rugby and Chinese electronics company Huawei this week, Spies confirmed that he was hoping to get some game time against Saracens in what will be the Bulls’ last dress rehearsal before their first Super Rugby game of the year, which will be against the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on February 13.

Spies missed a large part of the 2013 season because of the arm muscle injury and then suffered an enormous setback when the same muscle went again at the start of the 2014 season.

Fly half Handré Pollard is one of 15 Springboks named in the Bulls squad, but all eyes will be on what approach Bulls coach Frans Ludeke adopts this season.

In spite of having a powerful arsenal of top players, the Bulls have become caught in a time warp in terms of the style of rugby they play, and even their own fans have been calling for a more adventurous approach.

Although all five South African sides have yet to confirm their final squads for Super Rugby, the teams have been sweating hard in summer training.

The Sharks are the only other team venturing overseas as part of their preparation. The men from KwaZulu-Natal will take on European and French champions Toulon at Stade Mayol on February 5.

After sitting out for the whole of last year, promising young lock Pieter-Steph du Toit is hoping to be fit enough to be in the touring party and to be available for the start of the Sharks’ Super Rugby campaign.

Du Toit (22) has already earned two test caps off the bench and is seen as the ideal foil for Eben Etzebeth as the Springboks’ lock pairing of the future. His comeback will be closely monitored by national coach Heyneke Meyer.

While the Bulls and the Sharks have gone for big matches to get ready, the Cheetahs and the Stormers have kept it low-key with warm-up matches against minor provinces in their region.

However, over at the Lions camp, Johan Ackermann, after analysing the effect of early injuries in previous seasons, has decided on no more than a practice game against a combined Pukke/Leopards outfit to add the finishing touches to his preparation for the tournament.

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