Rob Houwing - Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town – Stormers flyhalf and occasional midfielder Peter Grant may be a step closer to signing for the Force.
Rumours have been circulating for a while that the Springbok, presently on the Antipodean trip with the Stormers, might cross the Indian Ocean more permanently, but The Australian newspaper reported on Tuesday that the Perth-based franchise were anxious to move quickly.
Capturing Grant, the paper said, was part of a simultaneous bid to fight off Brumbies interest in teenage Wallabies utility back James O’Connor.
The 18-year-old has apparently changed his mind about taking over at No 10 next season when Matt Giteau returns to Canberra, and Grant being available for the pivot position would satisfy O’Connor’s wish to remain a little further away from the pack at inside centre or fullback for the moment.
The Australian’s rugby scribe Wayne Smith wrote: “If the Force is able to secure Grant as its marquee player … it would mean O’Connor would not be burdened with the responsibility of running the game.”
He quoted Force chief executive Greg Harris as saying: “James might not be the No 10. We’ve been in conversation with Grant for a few weeks and he is fairly interested in coming across.
“His parents are now living in Perth and he wants to become an Australian.”
Grant would not be eligible for the Wallabies as he has played five Tests for South Africa.
And the presently ailing Stormers might not wish to surrender Grant’s services too easily – the only other specialist flyhalf of note on their books is veteran Willem de Waal, who did not impress in the defeat against the Crusaders last weekend and may not be available again next year.
Grant may not be an especially “flash” player but he has a shrewd tactical brain, the necessary toughness and competence in defence and a reliable place-kicking record.