Rose hopes to have second bloom for Lions

AFTER two weeks of inactivity, Lions fullback Earl Rose returns to the team when they meet the Leopards in an Absa Currie Cup encounter at Ellis Park Stadium on Friday.

AFTER two weeks of inactivity, Lions fullback Earl Rose returns to the team when they meet the Leopards in an Absa Currie Cup encounter at Ellis Park Stadium on Friday.

Rose replaces influential fullback Earl Lewis, who starred in the game against the Bulls on August 29.

Lewis will sit out the match after picking up a knee injury in last weekend's loss to the much-improved Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Rose gets another chance to impress in the fullback position after an unsatisfactory performance towards the end of the first round. Coach Hans Coetzee believes the presence of the experienced Rose will inspire the team.

Coetzee confirmed yesterday that captain Cobus Grobbelaar has been ruled out of the match because of a persistent shoulder injury.

"On Monday morning Cobus was very keen to play this weekend. But later in the day he told us that his shoulder was painful and would not be ready for Friday's match."

Stand-in captain Willem Alberts will thus continue in the role.

In other changes, Coetzee has decided to move centre Pieter Engelbrecht to the bench and will start with Doppies la Grange, with Franco van der Merwe moving from flank to lock.

Meanwhile South Africa have delayed naming the team for the Tri-Nations Test against New Zealand in Hamilton on Saturday as they await the results of fitness tests on injured pair Bryan Habana and Pierre Spies.

Winger Habana went off with a hamstring strain shortly before half time in the Springboks' 21-6 loss to Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.

Number eight Spies sustained a groin injury during the Wallabies game, SA Rugby spokesperson Anthony Mackaiser said yesterday. The team will be named at 12.30pm today.

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