Cape Town - The Stormers view Peter Grant as their unsung hero and if he maintains his current form he may well be rewarded with the Green and Gold this year.
This is not the view of someone inside the camp, but the appraisal of Springbok coach Peter de Villiers himself.
Grant is not among the contracted players announced by De Villiers this week, but the Bok coach is keeping an open mind about any player who might potentially add value.
“We want to go and win the World Cup and you can’t do that if you’re stupid! If someone is playing the way Peter Grant is at the moment and I ignore him, why do we bother with these kinds of games?” said De Villiers.
“If he maintains this kind of form, there is a good chance that he will be at the World Cup (in New Zealand in September). But he’s not the only one and there are other guys that are also playing well.
“The other side of the coin is that some players realise that it’s a long season and are pacing themselves. For example, Fourie du Preez is the best scrumhalf in the world, but is currently only operating at 20% of his ability. He is still controlling games. Just think how good he will be when he’s at his best!”
Grant last wore a Bok jersey against Australia in Perth in 2008 and then he was a substitute for Butch James. The latter may well be one of a number of experienced and talented players that stand between Grant and the Bok jersey.
Like the rest of the Bulls, Morné Steyn has not been in good form. However, you don’t just discard a man who has notched a points record against New Zealand and clinched the test series against the British and Irish Lions with a long-distance penalty.
Then there is still a young star like Patrick Lambie to keep in mind. He is still on the injury list this week and will not play for the Sharks against the Stormers on Saturday.
However, if talent alone is taken as a measure, Lambie may probably be ahead of all the other candidates.
The flyhalf position has often been a problematic one for South Africa in the modern era, but there are now numerous strong candidates for the Boks’ No 10 jersey.
Grant will therefore have to continue playing well to be a contender.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee praised his flyhalf in the wake of the victory over the Western Force.
“He is our unsung hero. There is maturity in his game and his decision-making of when to kick and take the ball wide is good. He also kicks well at posts and his kicking out of hand has also been good.”
Grant has slotted 30 from 36 kicks at goal for the Stormers this year and a success ratio of 83% is what is expected of a kicker at test level.
How much longer then before Grant is rewarded for his form? After all, he was also good last year.
“Let’s not talk about the Springboks now. It’s still a long time before the World Cup,” said Coetzee.
At least Grant now knows for sure that De Villiers is watching.