Pierre Spies: South Africa forward set for injury comeback
South Africa number eight Pierre Spies will hope to put more than 18 months of injury problems behind him by playing against Saracens on Saturday.
The 29-year-old, who has suffered two biceps tears, is on the bench for his club Blue Bulls' friendly at Sarries.
He won the last of his 53 caps for the Springboks in June 2013.
"It's awesome to have Pierre back. He's a fantastic player and he'll get 20 or 25 minutes," Bulls player-coach Victor Matfield told BBC Sport.
"For him it's about getting through the game, feeling good, and then hopefully he can have a big season."
Spies, the Bulls captain, initially tore a biceps in the Quadrangular Tournament final against Samoa in the summer of 2013.
He made an attempted comeback at the beginning of last year, but aggravated the injury and required a second operation.
The Pretoria-born number eight, who missed South Africa's 2007 World Cup-winning campaign with blood clots on his lungs, is one of 15 Springboks in the Bulls squad to face Saracens at Allianz Park.
"It's an important game for us. There's a lot of pride on the game," said 37-year-old Matfield, whose 121 Test appearances makes him South Africa's most capped player.
"We know that Saracens play with a hard-rush defence. We are trying to get better at playing against that type of defence, so we'll see if it's working for us."