Experienced flyhalf Peter Grant will hook up with the Stormers again in either the first or second week of their Super Rugby overseas leg … straight from his completed commitments in Japan.
This was confirmed by coach Allister Coetzee, who will relish adding “Bash’s” street wisdom to the tour mix as he is low on truly hardened, assertive characters and decision-makers in both the key slots of No 10 and scrumhalf this season.
Grant can change all that, especially as he will offer a renewed physical presence in the flyhalf channel and associated willingness to receive the ball close the advantage line.
For those charging that the Durban-born Springbok is some sort of has-been, they may be surprised to know he is still only 29 and has benefited from rotation at Kobelco Steelers because there are limits on the number of foreign players who can be fielded at any one time in the Japanese league and his team includes fellow-internationals and former Stormers colleagues like Andries Bekker and Jaque Fourie, among other Test stars from elsewhere.
But the Steelers’ progress to an advanced stage of the domestic season has once again delayed Grant’s restoration to the Stormers fold.
There is light at the end of the tunnel now, as Coetzee explained: “He’s playing this weekend again; they were actually lucky to have won last weekend by a couple of points … this is the last weekend ahead of the final and they apparently have very tough opponents, which could (end their season).
“So it’s a maximum of two more weeks, but they may fall out this week.
“Our intention is for him to join us on tour, straight from Japan. There won’t be major time-zone issues, and it will be a relatively short flight for him to link up with us.”
Coetzee said Grant’s No 10 acumen would be welcomed, as well as his versatility because he can also aid the cause at inside centre; the Stormers do not boast huge depth there.
“He can also help ease load the load on Jean (de Villiers) in terms of decision-making in the backline as a whole; we have some brilliant youngsters around, but obviously at this level communication is a massive aspect – he’s got that ability to organise people around him, to talk.
“At flyhalf, I love having all of Demetri (Catrakalis), Kurt (Coleman) and Gary (van Aswegen) with us but at times when the pressure’s on things can go a bit quiet; you need that direction someone of Peter’s experience can give.
“Bash is hungry to play some Super Rugby again; he’s quite fresh because of the limitation on the internationals at Japanese clubs and the way they rotate them.”
Grant has a habit of performing particularly well for the Stormers abroad, and will be available either from the game against the Crusaders (8 March) or Chiefs (14 March).
The Cape side’s tricky tour ends in Australia with fixtures against the Brumbies and Reds.