Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer has told keo.co.za that rebranded flank Pierre Spies has a great chance of Springbok selection by the end of the year.
Meyer’s prediction, made two days before Spies will start his first Vodacom Super Rugby game in jersey 6, does surprise. He has never been one to overexaggerate or wax lyrical, however, and thus the gravity of words has been forced by the sheer potential exhibited by Spies.
“Pierre can be a sensation, he’s one of the most talented players I’ve ever coached,” Meyer said. “I want him in the team because he adds so much in so many areas. We were practising on competing in the lineouts yesterday, and he was absolutely superb. This from a guy who was playing wing three months ago.
“He’s the type of guy you know will do something special, and I believe he has a great chance of Springbok selection by the end of the year.”
Spies’s speed and bulk mean he’ll always be one of the first to the breakdown, but Meyer cautions that pigeonholing him prematurely could be dangerous.
“I’m a little bit cautious to make this comparison, but he’s a little like Joe van Niekerk and Bob Skinstad in that he mustn’t ever be put into a box. We want to use him in a role that allows him as much freedom as possible, not just play to the ball. He can be devestating if he’s allowed to be.”
Spies’s first start in the Vodacom Super 14 on Saturday is necessitated by Johan Wasserman’s injury, but the fact that he has been preferred to one-cap Bok Tim Dlulane confirms just how highly Meyer rates this kid.
“He started playing as an unknown wing against the Highlanders in the Super 12 last year, now his first start on the flank is also against the Highlanders, so there is some nice symmetry there.”