Cape Town - Stormers scrumhalf Nic Groom is keen to improve his mental toughness in this year's Super Rugby competition.
Groom was Western Province's first-choice scrumhalf when they won the Currie Cup in 2012, but a torrid Super Rugby game against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last year saw him lose his place in the starting team.
Groom made two blunders which led to Cheetahs tries and the Stormers eventually lost 26-24.
That game knocked Groom's confidence badly, and he was only used as a substitute on three occasions in the Stormers' last 10 games.
With Dewaldt Duvenage now away in France, Louis Schreuder is Groom's main contender for the No 9 jersey, and the 23-year-old is eager to improve his game in all aspects.
He played second fiddle behind Schreuder in last year's Currie Cup, but will attack the 2014 season with renewed vigour.
"An aspect of my game I'd like to improve is my mental toughness. Sport can throw you curve balls and the important thing is how to react to the challenges," Groom told Die Burger's website
"You need to gain control over the voices you hear and over those you don't need to hear. There is no aspect of my game that I don't want to improve on from last year. Whether it's attack, defence, kicking or passing.
"My aim is to become a complete player. It's important to formulate your own definition of success. It's a personal thing.
"As a player you could fall into the trap of letting what you read and what others say influence you. It's dangerous once you get there.
"Every sportsperson will tell you that you'll have good and bad days. It's about how you respond to that."
Groom will start ahead of Schreuder for the Stormers in their pre-season clash against the Kings in Port Elizabeth on Friday (19:00 kick-off).Teams:Kings:
15. Siviwe Soyizwapi, 14. Sergeal Petersen
, 13. Dwayne Jenner, 12. Shane Gates, 11. Eben Barnard, 10. George Whitehead, 9. Sonwabo Majola, 8. Devon Oosthuizen, 7. Stephan Zaayman, 6. Paul Schoeman, 5. Rynier Bernardo, 4. Steven Sykes (captain), 3. Charl du Plessis, 2. Albé de Swardt, 1. Brendon Olivier
Substitutes: 16. JC Oberholzer, 17. Lizo Gqoboka, 18. Pieter Stemmet, 19. Stephan Greeff, 20. Thembelani Bholi, 21. Kevin Kaba, 22. Tyler Paul, 23. Jaco Grobler, 24. Ronnie Cooke, 25. Michael Killian, 26. Brian SkosanaStormers:
15. Jaco Taute, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Michael van der Spuy, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Scott van Breda, 10. Demetri Catrakilis
, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen
, 7. Schalk Burger (captain), 6. Siya Kolisi
, 5. Manuel Carizza, 4. Rynhardt Elstadt, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Deon Fourie
, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Pat Cilliers, 19. Michael Rhodes
, 20. Jean Kleyn, 21. Nizaam Carr, 22. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 23. Louis Schreuder, 24. Gary van Aswegen, 25. Pat Howard, 26. Devon Williams, 27. Ryno Eksteen