Pierre Spies says having to compete with Duane Vermeulen for the Springbok No 8 jersey will bring the best out of him.
The 29-year-old, who missed the whole of the 2014 season because of a bicep injury, is expected to make his comeback for the Bulls against Saracens in London next Saturday.
While he has been away, Vermeulen has excelled at No 8 for the Boks, earning a nomination for World Rugby's 2015 Player of the Year award. The new Stormers captain is also expected to win the 2015 SA Player of the Year next month.
Spies, though, says he is up for the challenge of trying to regain the Bok No 8 jersey, which he last wore against Samoa at Loftus in June 2013.
'I think it’s an excellent challenge to have,' he told SuperSport.com. 'Duane played exceptionally well this past year and he was great for the Springboks, and probably one of the best players in the world.
'For me, though, the competition will bring the best out in me, and I know it's all a process that I have to go through. First I need to get myself onto the field again, then have a good season for the Bulls and then hopefully for the Boks as well.'
Spies admitted that going to the World Cup in September was at the back of his mind, but said he was fully focused on the Bulls' upcoming Super Rugby campaign.
'I think you’d be lying if you’re not thinking about the World Cup. But I’m taking it step for step. For me it’s more important to get myself onto the field, get confidence again and then to play as well as I can there. The rest will sort itself out, and if I’m meant to be there I will be. It's still a dream for me though.'
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