Cruelly forced to withdraw from the World Cup squad on the eve of departure for France due to the discovery of blood clots on his lungs, he fought back with scarcely a backwards glance and played himself back into the Springbok squad.
Demonstrating the searing pace and tackle-busting brilliance that propelled him to international recognition, Spies has been arguably the form number eight in the 2009 Super 14.
He brings explosiveness and relentless energy to the mix, and his height also makes him an option at the back of the line-out. In short, Spies is the complete modern number eight. And whether he has a starting or impact role, it isn't hard to predict that his reputation will only grow during this series.