Earl Rose could start for the Cats against his old Stormers team-mates at Ellis Park on 11 February.
The WP Rugby Union was furious when the Lions poached Earl and his brother Jody at the end of last season. Both players were developed in Cape Town and part of the union’s long-term plans.
However, in the professional era money buys loyalty and the Roses were plucked from the backyard of a shell-shocked Nick Mallett.
With Andre Pretorius (ankle), Nel Fourie (shoulder) and Tiaan Snyman (concussion) all injured, Cats coach Frans Ludeke could start Rose against the Stormers.
“If Tiaan’s not ready for the first round then we’ll give Earl the No 10 jersey,” Ludeke told keo.co.za. “He’s fitted brilliantly into the squad since coming up from Cape Town and has helped create a great vibe. He’s very professional, but also quite easy going. As such a talented player, I have no doubt he’ll do the job for us if need be.”
Rose has been included at flyhalf for the Cats’ warm-up match against the Spears on Saturday, with Arno Coetzee on the bench. Ashwin Willemse is still not fit, so Jorrie Muller – the Muppits favourite Cats player – starts on the wing.
Bok scrumhalf Ricky Januarie is on the bench, but should get a run in the second half. Youngster Jano Vermaak gets the No 9 shirt ahead of former Sharks scrumhalf Dave von Hoesslin.
Ludeke, who coached the Cats to 11th position in the 2002 Super 12, said this year’s build up had been completely different to that which he experienced four years ago.
“The big difference has been continuity,” he told keo.co.za. “Now that the Cheetahs have their own franchise, the Cats squad is virtually the same as the Lions Currie Cup squad. This has allowed us to carry on from where we left off last year.”
Cats team to play Spears:
15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Wylie Human, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Wayne Julies, 11 Jorrie Muller, 10 Earl Rose, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Baywatch Grobbelaar, 7 Wikus van Heerden (c), 6 Gerhard Vosloo, 5 Willem Stoltz, 4 Kleinjan Tromp, 3 Marius Hurter, 2 Lukas van Biljon, 1 Heinrich Kok.
Subs: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Pietman van Niekerk, 18 Trevor Hall, 19 Russel Winter, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Arno Coetzee, 22 AN Other.
- A second-string Cats side will met the Falcons in Brakpan next Monday night, and Lawrence Sephaka will get some game-time along with Roland Bernard, Jannes Labuschagne and Doppies la Grange.