Lions utility back Earl Rose will fly out and join the squad in place of the concussed Justin St. Jerry.
Rose will be joined by lock Cobus Grobler, who replaces Anton van Zyl (calf injury), on the flight tomorrow night. Rose has not played since he dislocated his finger against the Force in the third week of the competition, and his absence has meant the Lions lost valuable depth in an already below-quality Super 14 backline. He has been used predominantly as a substitute and his impact in the second half of their matches since last year’s Currie Cup was profound.
Rose will not be in the squad for the Waratahs match this Saturday, but coach Loffie Eloff told keo.co.za that Rose would play before their Antipodean tour is over.
“Earl’s finger has healed but it’s still too early to put him in. He’ll be used as a back-up and will cover a few positions from fullback to flyhalf. We’ll bring him in when he’s ready, but he will definitely play on tour,” Eloff said from Sydney.
Eloff is concerned about the lack of experience of the players in the Lions squad, and has admitted that buying one or two older heads would aid their prospects of success in future that much greater.
“The only way these players will gain experience to win matches is by playing and learning. When I return from tour I would like to meet with our executive committee to discuss and consider getting one or two senior players with calm heads that could help us, but we’ve already got the core of the squad to go far,” said Eloff.
Eloff made seven changes for the Crusaders match, but said he will not make many more for the Tahs. “I’m not going to chop and change after every match. I will pick a side according to the way we’ll play tactically.”