Tri-Nations spurs Spies on
Springboks number eight says autumn tour serves as opportunity to atone
Last Updated: 08/11/10 4:36pm
Spies: step in the right direction
Ahead of Saturday's meeting with Wales, Pierre Spies has said South Africa's poor performances during this year's Tri-Nations are serving as motivation for their Grand Slam tour.
The world champions lost five of their six Tri-Nations matches against Australia and New Zealand to finish bottom of the table, one year after they swept all before them.
The Springboks won the Tri-Nations title in 2009 having already defeated the British and Irish Lions in an epic Test series.
Peter de Villiers' side have struggled to get a handle on the new law interpretations at the breakdown and the coach has even faced a review process with his job rumoured to be in jeopardy.
Furthermore, the absence of 13 players through injury had led some to believe that South Africa would face a tough trip to Europe.
However, they proved their critics wrong with a 23-21 win over Ireland in Dublin on Saturday and number eight Spies says the new blood in the party has actually benefitted them.
"We were disappointed with our results in the Tri-Nations and we have been given another opportunity with this tour and what better way to start it than by beating Ireland in their new stadium?" said the 25-year-old.
"The guys played with hunger and a lot of pride and it's a good step in the right direction for the future.
"We are motivated because of what happened in the Tri-Nations and we want to make it up to ourselves and to the country.
"We have a blend of youth and experience within the squad which makes it lively, fresh and new and touring the UK is always exciting and different from touring Down Under.
"We have had some mixed results but we are excited about the future."
In contrast, Wales head into the weekend having suffered a 25-16 defeat to Australia - Warren Gatland's side dominant in the forwards but offering insufficient guile and craft in attack.
Although Wales have a miserable record against South Africa, securing just one win in 24 Tests and 104 years of trying, Spies expects a tough test.
"We expect a huge onslaught," he said.
"They will be really hungry for victory and wanting to prove a point before next year's World Cup, they will be fired up with their home crowd hoping to sing them on to a victory.
"The Welsh side have a strong forward pack and they will bring it to us all day, and Mike Phillips is like an extra forward and asks questions round the rucks or in broken field. If it rains it will probably be a lot like the game in Ireland."
Wales and South Africa will next meet in their opening World Cup match next September, but Spies says they are not looking beyond Saturday's contest.
"It's in the back of our heads but as a group it's about executing what we want to do, taking it week by week," said the 38-cap forward.
"The game against Ireland is behind us and we want a win against Wales, but it would lay the foundation for next year."