Earl Rose is hoping that playing for Western Province in the Premier League Sevens in George will help resurrect his provincial rugby career.
The controversial utility back was a Springbok tourist in 2008 and 2009, but his career which also saw him represent Western Province, Griquas, the Cats, Lions and Stormers has been marred by off-field controversies.
He last played provincial rugby for Griquas in the 2011 Currie Cup, but has since been in the wilderness as a string of disciplinary issues cut his rugby career short.
However, the 29-year-old is now on the comeback trail and is set to be named in Western Province Sevens coach Ricky Petersen’s squad for the Premier League Sevens when it is announced on Monday.
Petersen told this website that he has been following Rose’s progress at Somerset West club Sir Lowrians which convinced him to call him up to train with the Province Sevens squad.
“I have been following his rugby, he has been playing for Sir Lowrians and he has been doing quite well.
“He is looking good, obviously I will confirm on Monday whether he will definitely be part of the team but he is in the squad,” he said.
Petersen explained that Rose sees the Premier League Sevens as a stepping stone to getting back to provincial rugby, and added that he has been working extremely hard on his fitness.
“He is keen to make it back to provincial level, he has got the vision, he has got the skill, I am just obviously working on his fitness. He has lost six kilograms already.
“He told me that he has never worked as hard in his entire life and he feels quite good,” he said.
The Province Sevens coach said that despite his issues in the past, he is convinced that Rose is committed to making the most of his talents .
“He wants to go as far as he can go still, he has got a lot to give still he says. It is about him getting back to provincial level again, he says he can.
“I had a great chat with him about his discipline on and off the field, I feel that players should not be branded on what has happened in the past.
“Coaching is not just shouting at the guys on the field but also helping them with the mental side of the game and working on their weaknesses off the field as well,” he said.
Petersen’s squad is also likely to feature Varsity Sevens stars Rob Ahlers, Ruan Mostert and Josh Bassingthwaighte, whilst he is also hopeful of being able to call on Blitzbok Cheslin Kolbe.
“I am hopeful of having Cheslin, I will know by Sunday. He is a young and exciting player but we do not have a lot of wings at the Stormers at the moment so Allister [Coetzee] hasn’t got a huge variety, we have got a lot of talent but you have to look at the experience factor.
“Allister phoned me on Friday to say that he hopefully will release Cheslin, but I am going to have to wait first and see,” he said.
By Michael de Vries