Is Spies a show pony?

Written by Wesley Weber (wpw)

Posted in :2009 Lions Tour, Bulls, In the news, Springboks on 9 Jun 2009 at 07:14
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The next few weeks will demonstrate whether Springbok No 8 Pierre Spies is “Superman or a show pony”, according to a British media report.

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer reports:

Rugby scribe Nick Cain, writing for The Times website on Monday, raised the temperature ahead of the three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions by suggesting the bang-in-form Bulls tearaway may not be quite the phenomenon he is touted as in South Africa.

“There are a few dissenting voices down here (in South Africa) who say he is not the Superman the Springbok hierarchy will have you believe he is,” Cain said.

“They suggest he is more suited to Sevens, often goes missing when the going gets tough, and misses far too many tackles for an international No 8.”

Cain will have ruffled further feathers with this statement: “His bodybuilder’s physique has led to him being dogged by speculation over steroid use in a country where there have been numerous high-profile rugby busts for performance-enhancing drugs over the last 20 years.

“The rumours, which Spies categorically rejects, have persisted since his withdrawal from the Springbok squad before the 2007 World Cup with a pulmonary embolism which threatened his rugby future.

“There is something of the Frankenstein experiment about the way South African conditioning experts and coaches talk about his apparent superhuman physical prowess.”

Cain said it was unfortunate that Lions back-rowers like Stephen Ferris, Tom Croft (both 23, like Spies) and Jamie Heaslip, “the frontrunner for the Lions No 8 Test jersey”, would not have the chance to measure themselves against Spies before the Test series.

“The word is that Ferris’s Irish team-mates deliberately steer clear of the blindsider in training sessions because the Ulsterman’s tackling is never less than brutal.

So far, no such news has filtered through from the South African camp about Spies, and we will have to wait until the Test series to find out whether the Boks have unearthed a Superman, or a show-pony speedster.”


  • I hope Spies reads this!!! 🙄

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.06.09 07:16:37 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 1) : Last year Kanko was definately better than Spies and I had my doubts about Spies’s defence in the early part of the Super 14, but he is a machine and I think the B&I Lions will get their answer soon enough……I hope he reads this….it should be all the motivation he needs.. 😈

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.06.09 08:13:05 by Pokkel Reply
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  • I tend to agree with thwe Pom regarding tight games. But then again – they must be upset about facing an eight that can outstrip 90% of the backs they picked over a 100 meters 😆

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.06.09 09:12:25 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • No!

    If Spies is a pony…how big is the horse?

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.06.09 10:05:39 by blackshark Reply

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  • I am a HUGE fan of Spies…the guy is a freak. The SA version of Lomu. He can be totally devastating and this article is just the usual Pom journalist’s diverting attention because they are extremely worried about him.

    He is by no means a classical number 8 but more a manufactured one. He doesn’t have the ball skills or positional play of say a Teichmann but he has incredible power and pace. Give him the ball and let him run and flatten the Lions. It will take all of Ferris, Heaslip and Croft to flatten him! 😈

  • Comment 5, posted at 09.06.09 10:27:36 by Villie Reply
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  • Oh and the comment about Ferris’ tackling is a load of old rubbish. He is a good player (also pacy) but is nothing special when it comes to the physical stuff!

  • Comment 6, posted at 09.06.09 10:28:54 by Villie Reply
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  • @Villie (Comment 5) : must say, I’d prefer Spies as a 7… imagine playing him in tandem with Kankowski with someone like Deysel as a maxi-fetcher-cum-wrecking-ball opensider.

    unorthodox, I know, but shit, I reckon it would be frighteningly effective!

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.06.09 11:04:35 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 7) :

    That’s so WWE SMACKDOWN! Good when we have the ball…but who’s gonna steal it back – Deysel? Yeah right…

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.06.09 11:09:45 by blackshark Reply

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  • @blackshark (Comment 8) : why not? Have you seen him when he’s in that mode?

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.06.09 11:14:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 9) :

    I don’t rate his work rate that highly mate… 🙂

    But then again…if he knocks the ball out in the tackle…he doesn’t need to do much dirty ground work… 😉

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.06.09 11:27:26 by blackshark Reply

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  • @blackshark (Comment 10) : exactly… I’m worried that I may just have turned into Jake White without realising it.

    Time to flagellate myself… mea culpa! mea culpa!

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.06.09 11:38:32 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : Yeah I like him at 7 too but it makes sense to play him at 8 for the Boks when you already have a 7 as good as Juan Smith.

    Kanko needs a bit more “mongrel” in his game and he’d be the complete package. At the moment, he can be a luxury at times. Still….great to have on the bench where he can wreak havoc on a tired defence.

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.06.09 12:57:55 by Villie Reply
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  • Oh dear, He is gonna hurt them now! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.06.09 13:17:22 by Rahul Reply

  • to be honest he does miss number of tackles and tends to disappear in tighter games.
    Kanko has the same problem.

  • Comment 14, posted at 09.06.09 13:28:49 by rekinek Reply
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  • I cannot believe the stupidity of the man, I know the majority of you are Kanko fans but this boy has some serious gas and I saw that insert on him on planet rugby last week, wow he is built as well, was doing some serious weights and it looked like he was lifting a broomstick, the way he was working. I don’t think we have even seen the best of this guy yet and there will be a couple of British Lions taking this scribe out, after the tests!!

  • Comment 15, posted at 09.06.09 14:06:49 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 15) : yeah. You noticed how long it’s been since I last said something nasty about him? 🙂 been forced to swallow my words all right

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.06.09 22:20:24 by robdylan Reply
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