Earl Rose may not be everybody’s cup of tea and he has had his share of criticism this year, but the utility back has come in for high praise from both Emerging Springbok coach Dick Muir and team captain Dewald Potgieter following the 13-all draw with the British and Irish Lions on Tuesday.
Jan de Koning reports that despite the atrocious conditions – the monsoon type weather in which the match took place – and a number of mistakes by Rose, both coach and captain felt he produced a performance worthy of national honours.
This is in line with the faith Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has shown in the 25-year-old uncapped Rose – despite his horror run in the Super 14.
And at Newlands on Tuesday he again produced a performance that had his coaches and teammates singing his praises – even though many pundits don’t necessary agree with their assessment.
Rose, under pressure to justify the faith showed in him by the national brains trust, produced a mixed bag at Newlands.
His detractors will point to the number of hospital passes he threw, the two charge downs, some of his ordinary kicks and even a drop-goal attempt that ended closer to the corner flag than the uprights.
That mattered little to his teammates and coaches, who feels he is ready to make the step up from the Emerging stage to a full international.
Emerging Boks coach Dick Muir did not hide his admiration for Rose’s performance, which he felt was praiseworthy, given the conditions the game was played in.
“Earl is the type of player that likes the expansive game and he showed that he can vary it a little bit,” Muir said of the player, who tried his best to play a more structured, territorial type game.
“He is also quite versatile, to be able to adapt to the fullback position, you know, the positional game he played at the end,” Muir said about Rose, who moved to fullback when Willem de Waal came on at flyhalf in the second half.
The Emerging Boks’ captain, Potgieter, also defended his to hand a penalty kick to Rose late in the game, even after De Waal had already taken to the field.
At that stage the Lions were leading 13-6 and a successful kick would have put the South Africans in a position to win the game.
Rose failed with a very kickable penalty, leaving it up to De Waal later in the game to slot a conversion to draw the game.
Potgieter said that he had chatted to Muir and they decided that Rose was going to be the kicker.
“We backed Earl as our first choice flyhalf,” Potgieter said, adding: “The guys at the top wanted to see what Earl can do and I think he did a very good job under the circumstances.
“I wanted to show some trust and faith in that guy [Rose],” the captain said.
He also reserved some praise for De Waal’s touchline conversion in the dying seconds.
“Willem slotting that kick just shows what a class act he is, coming off the bench and pulling off that kick says a lot about the guy.”
Asked why he gave the conversion to De Waal, after having earlier opted to stay with Rose, the captain said it was a decision between the two kickers.
“Also, if you look at the position of the kick, it favoured the guy with the left boot [De Waal] and when they told me [about their decision] I was happy with it.
“The guy [De Waal] wanted to take the kick and I’ll back him 10 out of 10 times,” Potgieter said.
Muir said there are other guys in the Emerging Bok squad who also pout their hands up for higher honours, without naming individuals.
“In the Emerging Bok squad there are guys that can make us proud by representing their country,” Muir said.
“That is what I’m really pleased about to have come out of it [the game].
“To say these guys have been thrown together with very little time to prepare and they showed the guts and character that is expected of a Springbok. For them it is an opportunity to move on in their careers and grow that guts and determination.”Tweet