Force

Grant aiming for a Super Rugby title with the Force

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Former Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant says he is relishing the chance to have
another shot at a Super Rugby title with the Western Force this year.

Grant came close to a Super Rugby title in 2010 when the Stormers were beaten
by the Bulls in Soweto and has joined the Force for 2016.

The Force had a disaster of a year in 2015 as they ended last having won just
three out of 16 matches but Grant believes that the Perth-based franchise can
stake a realistic claim for the title in 2016.

The 31-year-old Grant’s optimism stems from the radical overhaul of the
Force’s playing style. In recent years coach Michael Foley has tried to
play a percentage game based on a tigerish defence and a strong kicking game,
but the former Wallaby hooker has seen the light – he wants his team to
make use of the ball in hand.

Central to those plans was finding an experienced flyhalf who has seen and
done it all in Super Rugby, and there are few better than Grant, who played
104 games for the Stormers and featured in that 2010 final and a number of semi-finals.

Losing the 2010 final to the Bulls at Orlando Stadium in Soweto has made Grant
hungry to go one step further upon his return to the premier southern hemisphere
tournament with the Force, following a two-year stint with French club La Rochelle.

He is also a deadly goal-kicker, having accumulated 866 points with the Stormers
to be sixth on the all-time Super Rugby points-scorers list.

“That’s all we’ve been working on in the off-season, is just
playing a bit more of an expansive game and improving our skills and the interaction
between the forwards and backs,” Grant told foxsports.com.au.

“We’ve definitely worked hard on spreading the ball a bit more
and playing an attractive, exciting brand of rugby, which I love and it’s
the style of game I’ll play.

“I think maybe towards the end of last season they weren’t playing
that style and it was a lot more kicking-orientated and defensive, but we want
to change that whole attitude and be more attacking and aggressive.

“It was a great experience I had at the Stormers. It was a good career
there, but the change was good for me. I haven’t won a championship with
Super Rugby. I’ve played in a final but I haven’t won it, so there’s
that achievement I’m aiming for.”

What will make Grant feel even more at home is the fact that his parents and
two uncles live in Perth. There are also a number of South Africans who are
part of the Force squad and team management, in particular, some from Cape Town
such as his former Stormers teammate, utility back Marcel Brache.

Other South African connections include props Francois van Wyk and Chris Heiberg,
loose forward Brynard Stander and utility back Dane Haylett-Petty. In addition,
assistant coach Dave Wessels and backline coach Kevin Foote were involved with
UCT in the past before moving to Perth.

But Grant is also hoping to help develop the young Force backline, especially
talented inside centre Kyle Godwin.

“That’s part of my role and why Foles (Foley) brought me in –
to play that mentoring part with the youngsters, because they do have a fairly
young backline and there’s a lot of talent there which I’m hoping
to have an influence on and help develop,” the five-Test Springbok said.

“The likes of Kyle Godwin, Luke Burton is another young star there that
I think has great potential going forward. Whatever I can do to have an impact
on their careers is what I want to do, because I want to give back a bit.

“I had Tony Brown join me at the Stormers for a year in 2008 when I was
fairly young and I learnt so much from him. He might not have known it, but
I was soaking up so much knowledge and so much of experience, so that’s
the role I’m hoping to play with these guys as well.

“I’ve obviously got a lot of family there with two of my uncles
living in Perth, one of them for over 30 years, and my parents as well, so that’s
a big draw card. But I love the lifestyle of Australia, particularly in Perth.”

The Force start their Super Rugby campaign against the Rebels on February 27
in Perth. Grant will have to wait until the second-last league round to face
the Stormers, as the Force are scheduled to take on Robbie Fleck’s team
on July 9, also in Perth

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