Pierre Spies, one of the stars in South Africa’s record 53-8 win over Australia last Saturday, has declared himself ready to be a “bench boy” for the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup – despite commanding a regular starting spot at international level.
Spies was one of several Springboks who have joined their Bulls teammates at training since Monday morning – less than 48 hours after running out in Green and Gold against the Wallabies.
Jan de Koning of Rugby 365 reports that it is yet to be confirmed exactly which Springboks will be released to play Currie Cup rugby this week, but Spies, Bok and Bulls captain Victor Matfield, scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and utility forward Danie Rossouw have all been training with the men in light blue.
Spies, speaking ahead of the Bulls’ Currie Cup crunch match against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, said he simply doesn’t mind what role he plays in the team … as long as he can make a contribution towards taking the coveted golden Cup back to Pretoria.
The Bulls have done exceptionally well with Pedrie Wannenburg, Wikus van Heerden (also as stand-in captain) and Deon Stegmann in the loose forwards.
With Wilhelm Steenkamp in sublime form at lock, it means the Bulls now have an abundance of second row and back row forwards at their disposal.
But this doesn’t bother Spies, who said he will play whatever role is in the best interest of the team.
And the players also have no qualms about being back in the Currie Cup fold so soon after an arduous international season – which saw the Boks play 10 Tests, including six Tri-Nations games.
“I don’t mind training [at the Bulls] again, we’ll have a break later in the season,” Spies told rugby365.com in an interview.
“Playing in the Currie Cup is deep in our veins,” he said about the Boks’ return to the domestic scene.
He confirmed that the Springboks are always keen to play in South Africa’s premier domestic competition.
“The guys will always want to play in the Currie Cup. The other enjoyable aspect is that we are at home and then you enjoy it a lot more,” he told this website.
He said what made the transition from Test rugby to the Currie Cup so much smoother is that both teams – the Boks and Bulls – have both just come off big wins. South Africa smashed Australia 53-8 and the Bulls demolished arch rivals Western Province 37-6.
“The Springboks in particular needed the win badly, it lifted the pressure off us and it was enjoyable as a team that things started to fall into place and started to happen for us, that the ball bounced our way for a change.
“For once we were all on song on the day and it was a great day to play and we are just glad it went so well.”
He said the key now is for the Boks to settle into the Blue Bulls team, to ensure “we’re all on the same page” and to make sure the national team players know what is required of them.
“The team is always more important than the individual and that is why it is important that we go onto the field, no matter who it is – even if we have to sit on the bench – and do our best on the day.”
He said at the Bulls they always put the team’s goals ahead of personal goals.
“If I have to sit on the bench, I will sit on the bench, it doesn’t matter as long as we put the best possible team out there to win the game,” he said of Saturday’s showdown against the Sharks.
Spies added that replacements do play a big role and can turn games.
“We are lucky to have great depth at the Bulls and we’ll have a very strong bench,” he added.
He dismissed the suggestion that the Springbok players’ intensity might drop, coming for the international arena onto the domestic stage.
“With so many [Bok] players coming back to their unions, it will make the top teams a lot more motivated,” Spies said, adding: “I feel the next few rounds, especially the semifinals and Final, will be of a very high intensity – it will produce rugby of a very high standard.”Tweet