With 92 Vodacom Super Rugby caps and nearly 850 points to his name, the return of Peter Grant has been a big plus for the DHL Stormers on their tour of Australasia.
The 29-year-old flew straight from Japan earlier this month to join up with his teammates for the start of their tour and he has played off the bench twice this season – against the Crusaders and the Chiefs.
Whilst his second-half cameos were not able to help the DHL Stormers to victories over the past fortnight, the man himself is looking forward to more game time against the Brumbies in Brisbane this Saturday (kick-off 10h40 SA time) and the next weekend against the Reds.
“I was buzzing when I came off the field against the Chiefs,” Grant told www.iamastormer.com from his team’s base in Coogee on Tuesday, “it was great wearing the DHL Stormers jersey again after a year away.
“Just to be part of this team again… it’s always a great honour to be involved with the DHL Stormers and I’m really looking forward to more game time in the coming weeks.”
His on-field abilities aside, as a no-nonsense defender and accurate goalkicker, Grant knows that he also has a big role to play off the field as a long-time and experienced member of this squad.
“The young guys seem to have some respect for me,” said Grant, half-chuckling at the notion.
“But I don’t think it’s about me arriving here and just barking orders. It’s about backing up someone like Jean de Villiers, who does a lot of the talking, and also (backline coach) Robbie Fleck who I have a good relationship with.
“In the past we had myself, Jean, Bryan Habana, Jaque Fourie and Dewaldt Duvenage all being able to contribute as experienced players – now it’s myself, Jean and Gio Aplon who the younger guys are leaning on and we have a responsibility to help them where we can.
“Last weekend, against the Chiefs, I was actually a bit too frantic at times – probably because I was overly excited to be out there playing again! – and it’s something I admitted when speaking to (coach) Allister Coetzee earlier this week. We must remain calm and it’s up to us more experienced players to lead by example in that department.
“I think I will find my voice more as the season progresses, so, for me, game time will be key. I didn’t play a helluva lot in this recent stint in Japan, between my early-season injuries and (later on) with the two-foreigners per team rule, but I’m hungry to play more and to contribute on any level for the DHL Stormers.”
Grant made his Super Rugby debut back in 2006 – against the (then) Cats – and he toured Australasia for the first time as a Stormers player later that season.
The team won two from four on that tour (two wins in Australia and two defeats in New Zealand) and the experienced DHL Stormers No.10 sees a lot of similarities between then and now.
“My first two tours as a Super Rugby player, 2006 and 2007, were tough for us as a team but I remember that the older players around us simply kept telling us younger guys to remain calm on the field. No matter what.
“We still have two games left on this tour and our aim is to pick up two wins, which would mean we could return home from a tough tour with another nine/ten points to go with our home win over the Hurricanes, which would be a huge boost ahead of seven home games between then and July.
“It won’t be easy, but we can do it,” he added.
“We’ve had a great week at training thus far, with another busy day tomorrow, but we’ve been in both games so far (against the Crusaders and the Chiefs) only to slip up late in the piece, so we certainly know – and believe – that we are capable of winning on this tour.”