KSA Shark ©

How PdV stumbled upon Grant

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks, Super 14 on 25 Apr 2010 at 15:22
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Springbok coach Peter de Villiers was probably engaging in a spot of double-bluffing when he claimed to have a secret flyhalf – who wasn’t Ruan Pienaar – up his sleeve as backup to Morne Steyn early in the Super 14.

So if his fulsome praise of the man this week was anything to go by, Peter Grant was the player he had in mind.

But there are two reasons Grant probably wasn’t the man: he wasn’t in the same form in the initial rounds of the Super 14 as he is now, and De Villiers’s treatment of him when he was a Springbok in 2008 suggested he didn’t rate him.

Simnikiwe Xabanisa writes for the Sunday Times that the one Test that went some way towards bearing out the latter theory was against Italy in Cape Town. Frans Steyn had started at flyhalf and, after scoring a typically wonderful solo try early in the game, he made a bit of a dog’s breakfast of the opportunity to play in his favourite position.

Grant came in and marshalled a disjointed backline as well as anyone could in the treacherous conditions, but he still didn’t force his way into the inner circle when it came to selection.

The reason for that was simple. Grant – playing at the height of De Villiers’s obsession with fantasy league rugby players – performed with none of the mercury that got Earl Rose selected and Pienaar anointed the Tiger Woods of rugby.

But the turn-around was complete this week, with De Villiers not only praising Grant’s distribution, off-loading in the tackle, defence and goal-kicking, but also defending his notoriously iffy kicking out of hand.

The thing is, while Grant may pass the ball with none of the je ne sais quoi with which Rose and Pienaar do, his passes tend to almost always find their intended recipients.

This leads to the kind of successful running rugby De Villiers has been yearning for since he was appointed Springbok coach.

Other qualities that make the diffident Grant an unlikely disciple for pretty rugby are that he plays at the business end of the advantage line; brings his wrecking ball loose-forwards into play; and has strength in the tackle that sucks in more defenders than the opposition would like.

Ever the shrewd operator – he won the British & Irish Lions series and the Tri-Nations by swallowing his pride and allowing the Boks to pare their game down to basically the pick and drive and the Garryowen last year – De Villiers has spotted a gap in Grant’s scintillating performances this season.

The obvious aspect of that is he now has backup for Steyn that is acceptable to everyone.

Less plain is that in Grant he may have ironically found the flyhalf who will see the Springboks win and play the kind of rugby that will make his post-match beer taste a little better as well, thanks to the style of the victory.

To paraphrase John Lennon, Grant is what happened while De Villiers was busy making other plans.

Ironically, Grant is exactly where Steyn, the man many are clamouring for him to replace in the Bok starting line-up, was this time last year.

Sheer weight of performance in the Super 14 has led the public to almost demand that a player De Villiers essentially didn’t rate be selected.

It also helps Grant’s cause that the normally unflappable Steyn has looked a little ragged under pressure in recent games, with his famed kicking game taking it’s cue from his general play.

Given the similarities between the two (they’re both 25 and have served lengthy apprenticeships at flyhalf), who’s to say Grant won’t be a regular in De Villiers’s starting XV by the end of the year?


  • Well Grant at 10 in the RWC will continue our RWC tradition.

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.04.10 16:01:09 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) : Well if we want to win wc 2011 let’s not bet against history, our 2 X wc winning boks both had a FH born and bread in KZN (Stransky and Butch…..has a ring of Starsky and Hutch to it).

    I won’t mind seeing a Bok team without Morne Steyn in it. Here’s hoping Grant grows even more at fh and overtake afore mentioned as our No. 1 FH.

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.04.10 16:23:32 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • I’m happy with either as well :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.04.10 16:26:25 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 2) :

    And here is the clincher. Stransky and Butch are Both Martizburg College Boys and so is Grant.

    Essentially when we have a Maritzburg college flyhalf we win the World Cup.

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.04.10 17:14:02 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 4) : Pretty darn interesting.

    Sharks will be well advised to buy the next 10yrs worth of Maritzburg flyhalfs :mrgreen:

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.04.10 17:50:39 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 5) :

    The only thing that Grant still has to do to fulfill his destiny is play for the Sharks before winning the RWC. 😛

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.04.10 18:12:34 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 6) : Stop stealing everyone else’s Fly halfs

    …..get Lambie in there ….and just be done with it :mrgreen:

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.04.10 18:14:35 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 7) :

    he’s not from Pietermaritzburg College. 😛

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.04.10 18:21:31 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 6) : And to think the Streamers almost allowed him to go…..if only the Sharks (and us fans) had some foresight. 😐

  • Comment 9, posted at 25.04.10 19:23:47 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 9) :

    Hey Ii’ve been calling for Grant to come to the Sharks for 2 years now.

    Albeit in jest. 😛

  • Comment 10, posted at 25.04.10 19:54:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • I cant stand this journalist!!

  • Comment 11, posted at 25.04.10 21:11:10 by wpw Reply
  • Well me don’t know Grant but is he is good well go for it 😆 😉

  • Comment 12, posted at 25.04.10 21:14:23 by Chaz Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 11) : He can write such BS at times…

    I do like Grant as a FH, I would take away the pressure of goal kicking and make him watch hours and hours of Carter and Wilko kicking for field position. He also needs to get a bit more distance on his touch finders.

    He is solid and dependable and doesn’t go backwards in the tackle, he plays a clean game and doesn’t try to be flashy.

    @Hertford Highlander (Comment 7) : it wouldn’t be stealing, he is a Durban boy.

  • Comment 13, posted at 26.04.10 13:48:37 by lostfish Reply
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  • Hoo boy, we (SA) really are going through a lean patch on the flyhalf front if one considers that grant has a realistic chance of being the next best. 😳

  • Comment 14, posted at 26.04.10 14:19:04 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Nothing wrong with Grant Sammy. He just needs to work on his touch finders but other than that he is pretty decent.
    Much better than anyone in Durban at the moment too!!

  • Comment 15, posted at 26.04.10 14:23:09 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 15) :
    To each his own I suppose.
    There is nothing wrong with Grant but also nothing exceptional. I would have loved to have had him in Durban this season, but having said that I dont know if his presence would have made any difference to the results of the games we lost.

  • Comment 16, posted at 26.04.10 14:39:28 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Did they show the WP vs Bulls VC game, I see Lionel Cronje played, any idea how he went?

  • Comment 17, posted at 26.04.10 14:44:53 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 16) :

    Bro, if you had John at 1 in the first place you would have been top of the log.

    He cost you those first 5 games and you know it!! 😉 😆

  • Comment 18, posted at 26.04.10 15:08:19 by wpw Reply
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 17) :

    I can only imagine that WP were average. The score was 17-6 in favour of the Bulls!! 🙄

  • Comment 19, posted at 26.04.10 15:13:59 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 18) : was it John at 1 or Lambie at 15 that turned the tide? Both changes happened at hte same time, so impossible to know for sure.

  • Comment 20, posted at 26.04.10 15:27:12 by robdylan Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 19) : I reckon we’ll find out this weekend exactly how good that Bulls VC side is. They’ve been coasting through a very weak section so far.

    Kyle Cooper against Chilli should be a mouth-watering contest, as will Bresler and Marais against the highly-fancied Bulls locks. In fact, the whole tight five contest is going to be huge, but I reckon the Sharks XV are going to take the Bulletjies apart up front.

  • Comment 21, posted at 26.04.10 15:33:22 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 20) : my vote goes to John @1 – the tide started as soon as forwards started providing a decent platform, having some urgency to the rucks etc. Also I think Pienaar settling at scrummie is a factor.

  • Comment 22, posted at 26.04.10 15:40:57 by rekinek Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 21) :

    Well lets hope so.

  • Comment 23, posted at 26.04.10 15:41:00 by wpw Reply
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 16) : he is very reliable player and much better option than de Waal but then you are right that he is nothing exceptional. But then again neither was Steyn last year and this year he seems to be developing and mixing his game better and better. Perhaps one just needs much more time to grow in confidence at flyhalf tahn at any other position.

  • Comment 24, posted at 26.04.10 15:44:24 by rekinek Reply
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  • Rob someone has hacked your system. I think its Grant10 and in an ironic twist is posting under wpw,s name as can be seen here @wpw (Comment 18) : .
    Action is needed ASAP, Wes wont be happy.

  • Comment 25, posted at 26.04.10 16:56:53 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 20) : well Rob i agree Smit at 1 and Lambie well is another story in the beginning you said you would like him at 10 to see what he preforms well i’m begining to see that to would love to see him at 10 i think he’ll do great 🙂

  • Comment 26, posted at 26.04.10 21:08:51 by Chaz Reply

  • @Chaz (Comment 26) : you don’t throw someone young and pretty much inexperienced at S14 level into the flyhalf berth in the S14. At fullback he can get a feel for the game and he has more space and time to make mistakes and cost too many points. He hasn’t played flyhalf since Std 7 I think.

    If he is going to be groomed for the flyhalf position then leaving him at fullback for now is a good option. Send him to club rugby to learn the trade at flyhalf.

    He is proving himself to be a very talented fullback too.

  • Comment 27, posted at 26.04.10 21:25:59 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 27) : i agree and i think that is where he must stay but looking at sat game he was all the place and doing a dame good job so i thought well would lv to see him play at 10 oh my thats me still learning a lot of this Rugby game know some of the players names etc but the game its self well me just plain blond me must get those rules on this game so me can talk more about the game its self 😳 😳 😉

  • Comment 28, posted at 26.04.10 21:31:48 by Chaz Reply

  • Well me going to say good night 🙂

    till tomorrow :mrgreen:

  • Comment 29, posted at 26.04.10 21:42:54 by Chaz Reply

  • @Chaz (Comment 28) : the IRB Laws of Rugby http://www.irblaws.com/EN/downloads/

  • Comment 30, posted at 26.04.10 22:01:40 by lostfish Reply
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