Stats show Peter Grant's worth
Cape Town - It's not just on defence where the Stormers have distinguished themselves from other teams.
While the Cape side's tackling has been lauded for the past two seasons, their goal-kicking is also better than that of any other side in this year's Super Rugby tournament.
Peter Grant's success ratio of 84,7% makes him the most accurate goal-kicker in Super Rugby this season, while his direct opponent in Saturday's semi-final against the Crusaders, Dan Carter, is 10th on the list with 73,1%.
Grant has succeeded with 50 of his 59 kicks at goal, while Carter has slotted 57 of his 78.
"If your goalkicker has a success ratio of 85%, it will give any side confidence. Peter has been maintaining those high standards for the past two seasons," said Stormers kicking coach Greg Hechter.
"Schalk Burger, as captain, has a good idea of what the outcome will be if he asks Peter to kick at goal."
The Stormers have had to make do without Grant for a number of games, but he managed 9 out of 11 kicks against the Cheetahs on his return and was named man-of-the-match.
Even so, there has often been criticism of Grant that his line kicks do not travel far enough.
"It has been a valid point at times. The period that Peter had off in Japan has given him the time to work on that. He is definitely fetching greater distances this year and has more confidence to kick with his left foot," said Hechter.
It's encouraging from a South African perspective that the Stormers, Bulls and Cheetahs - in that order - have managed the best goal-kicking ratios.
Morné Steyn, who is expected to wear the Boks' No 10 jersey, is fourth on the list of goal-kickers with a success ratio of 79%. However, he has also attempted more kicks than anybody else.
Aaron Cruden is the best New Zealand kicker - in second place behind Grant on 80% - but Carter is expected to be the All Blacks' general in pressure games.
Grant did not make South Africa's preliminary World Cup squad of 49 players, but a duel with Carter may just be the ideal opportunity to serve the selectors a reminder of his talent.
"Carter is considered the best flyhalf in the world and it may well be an eye-opener for the selectors if Peter does well," said Hechter.
"Peter de Villiers has said that the door is still open and it's a good opportunity for Grant."
Kicking in game situations, of course, is about much more than just aiming to put the ball between the posts. Carter may not be as accurate as South Africa's best kickers, but is a master of the tactical game.
Hechter's portfolio as kicking coach is not just to see that the goal-kickers put in the necessary hours at training, but also about planning on how the Stormers will handle the opponents' kicking game.
Counter-attacking may well be a part of that strategy, especially when Schalk Brits is introduced in the second half.