A naturally gifted athlete, Spies made his South African debut in the record 49-0 loss to Australia in Brisbane on July 15, 2006. He was subsequently dropped from the squad but showed his character by turning in a Man of the Match performance against the All Blacks in his comeback game.
Spies has incredible pace for a back row forward, running the 100m in 10.7 seconds. In 2007, after being named in the Springbok World Cup squad, doctors discovered a career-threatening condition after Spies started coughing up blood. The 1.94m, 107kg specimen was shocked to hear he had blood clots on his lungs and had no other alternative than to withdraw from the squad.
After six months of medication, Spies made a miraculous return to the game and had seemingly not missed a beat as he looked like his former self on the pitch. He regained his spot in the Springbok squad in 2008 and scored a try in his comeback game as the Boks thrashed Wales 43-17 in Bloemfontein.
In 2009, Spies started in both the first and second Tests against the British & Irish Lions, playing an integral role in South Africa’s 2-1 series victory. Such is his freakish athleticism that he was injected on the wing in the third Test as a replacement for Jongi Nokwe. At 24 years of age, Spies already has 28 Tests behind his name and has all the makings to become one of the all-time greats.
Spies is also a two-time Super Rugby winner and multiple Currie Cup winner. He played on the wing for the Springbok U19, became one of the youngest players to represent the Bulls when he made his debut in a Super 12 match against the Brumbies as a 19-year-old in 2005 and was one of the stars of the U21 Springbok side in the 2006 U21 World Cup.
Records/Honours:SA Currie Cup Player of the Year Nominee, 2006SA Player of the Year Nominee, 2006International New Player of the Year Nominee, 2006SA Most Promising Player of the Year, 2006Member of the Bulls Super 14 winning squad, 2007 & 2009Member of the Blue Bulls Currie Cup winning squad, 2009British & Irish Lions series winner, 2009Tri-Nations winner, 2009