In his second year as Bulls skipper, Spies is starting to embrace the captaincy duties and his greater maturity is being transferring to his game after missing the latter half of last year after fracturing his ring finger.
Asked this week how much the 11 Bulls players at the Springbok training camp in Cape Town affected their preparations for today’s Kings’ showdown in Port Elizabeth, Spies put it as realistically as it probably is.
“With a Bok camp we take it as it is.
The guys staying behind carried on as normal while we spend a good two or three days at the camp,” he said. “It only meant we put in a good session on Wednesday when we returned and squeezed in as much as possible.”
While Stormers No 8 Duane Vermeulen stuck up his hand last year in Spies’ absence, the muscular Bull showed he is back this year by putting in strong performances, but knowing how modest Spies is, he preferred not to focus on himself.
“You don’t have control over when injuries will arrive, but the break did wonders for me and for my game and it is something that could be considered in order to prolong the players’ careers,” he said.
“It is great for me to be back in the mix and in order for the Boks to get better, this camp was a step in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, the Bulls foresee no problem in having Argentinian referee Francisco Pastrana handling today’s game. “I think you have to adapt to the referee so we see no problem there,” said Spies.
Spies, 27, who plays in his 97th Super Rugby game for the Bulls today to go with his 50 Test caps, is one of only a handful of Boks who have previously played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“I think you can count all the Bulls who played for the Boks against England in last year’s PE Test, but I believe it is how you pitch for the day,” he said.
“It will be a game of 80 minutes and the entire Eastern Cape is excited about the opportunity their team have been given – we simply have to embrace the challenge and see how the game unfolds.”
The Bulls have won four of their seven matches and the Kings two, which in itself is an achievement after most people predicted they would fail dismally.
“The Kings are a team who play with a lot of passion and they have a lot of momentum and are eager to prove themselves after they were not given much chance of succeeding,” Spies said.
“They have a good loose trio, and Luke Watson is also back while a guy like Jacques Engelbrecht has also played a big role for them.”