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Is it time to give Grant a Bash?

The ever reliable Peter Grant has been quietly brilliant for the Stormers this season and surely has paid his dues and deserves a shot at the big time with the Boks.

Considering there are some question marks surrounding Morné Steyn following his awful goal-kicking performance in the Test series against England, perhaps Grant's time has finally come.

Grant has so often done sterling work for the Stormers without attracting all the attention, but it is his composure that makes him such a special player.

The 27-year-old has five Test caps to his name, but that can be misleading as he has never started for the Springboks and has only ever been allowed short cameos from the bench. His last appearance was some four years ago and he is a far more experienced and accomplished player than he was back then.

Grant isn't a flashy flyhalf in the mould of Quade Cooper, nor is he a Dan Carter who can beat you all on his own if you cross paths with the magician on the wrong day, he is the kind of player who brings a calm approach and will be badly missed as soon as he isn't there.

Detractors will speak about how his kicking out of hand isn't good enough, but let's not forget that the man plays most of his rugby at the coast in Cape Town and not up in the Highveld. Perhaps booming kicks to find touch miles away isn't part of his arsenal, but he does reliably find his touch and has developed a left foot to compliment his favoured right boot. Let's not forget that if Frans Steyn is standing a few feet away at inside centre there is a man with a massive boot near to hand. He does have a deft touch with the clever cross-field kick to setup Gio Aplon's try against the Cheetahs a prime example.

Grant ticks so many boxes with his staunch defence meaning he isn't a weak link big ball-carriers can target, his goal-kicking has been second to none this season (45 from 48 at 93.8%) and his scrumhalf can always find him in the right place at the right time.

One of the wonderful assets the unflappable Grant has at his disposal is his willingness to take the ball up to the line and create opportunities for the players around him. It can't be sheer coincidence that his team has finished top of the standings, not solely because of Grant by any means, but a flyhalf is effectively the rudder that guides the ship and with 14 wins from 16 the Stormers have been steered out of the doldrums from the days of Willem de Waal.

Grant is the kind of reliable man you can build a great team around because of his consistency – let Frans Steyn or Bryan Hababa bask in the limelight, while he quietly, efficiently and precisely gets on with business.

It is no secret that the massive emerging flyhalf talent in the country is Johan Goosen and there is little doubt that he is the heir to the No.10 jersey for the Boks. However, while Goosen recovers from injury and is groomed for greatness who should fly the flag in the mean time?

While Morné Steyn is by no means a poor player – isn't it time Grant was given a decent shot in the Bok team to see what he can bring to the party?

By Timmy Hancox


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