Vodacom Super 14

This time it's the real deal

2010-05-27 23:05
Peter Grant (Gallo Images)
Stephen Nell

Cape Town – After having to watch the Stormers beat a Bulls B team two weeks ago, rugby lovers will finally get to see the duels they have been looking forward to since March in the Super 14 final on Saturday.

It’s the Bulls against the Stormers at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto – Victor Matfield against Andries Bekker, Morné Steyn against Peter Grant, Gary Botha against Tiaan Liebenberg, Wynand Olivier against Juan de Jongh and Pierre Spies against Duane Vermeulen to name just a few of the personal battles.

Grant, who is the Stormers’ flyhalf, believes his fate is in the hands of the forwards.

“We’re playing behind the forwards and are dependent on good possession from them. They have given us good momentum this year and we’d like to keep it that way. You can’t view it as a man on man thing,” he said.

Grant was last week omitted from the Springbok squad for the Test against Wales in Cardiff on June 5.

While there is still a chance that he may be involved against Italy, he does not view Saturday’s duel with Springbok flyhalf incumbent Steyn as an opportunity to prove himself.

“The team has done well and the guys that made the Bok team all had a good season. As I said, all we want is good possession. It’s going to be a huge battle up front.”

There is no doubt about that. Up front the lineout battle will be fought between Bekker and Matfield.

Bekker has been Matfield’s student in the Springbok set-up for the past few seasons, but his performances this year are that of a man out to make South Africa’s No 5 jersey his own.

Grant also emphasised the role of discipline. The Stormers are well-versed with what Steyn can do after his penalty sank Western Province in last year’s Currie Cup semifinal at Newlands.

Grant’s success ratio at posts of 82% this year is slightly better than Steyn’s 77%.

The perspective that has to be offered is that it’s only on the Bulls’ tour that Steyn did not kick well and he succeeded with only 14 of his 26 kicks there. His strike rate in South Africa is 68 from 80 (85%).

Grant has been more consistent and succeeded with 49 of his 60 kicks at posts. He is also not worried about the prospect of the Bulls fans and their vuvuzelas when he kicks.

“I’ve been teased about the vuvuzelas since the start of the week,” Grant said with a laugh.

“There will be noise irrespective of where we play. There was a lot at Newlands and the vuvuzelas just make a different kind of noise. Hopefully I’ll handle it!’

The big question is whether the Stormers will be able to handle the Bulls’ aerial bombardment.

“Everyone knows it’s coming, but struggle to deal with it. We expect the same and will have to handle the high kicks,” said Grant.

While this is the most successful Stormers side in history, the players are eager to take their success a step further.

“We have always been compared with the team of 1999, but are now writing our own history. It’s wonderful to be part of it,” said Grant.

“There is a determination among the players. Yes, we have achieved something, but we’re concentrating exclusively on the next task at hand. And that’s the one in the North this weekend.”

Read more on:    bulls  |  stormers  |  super 14  |  peter grant

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