Grant aiming for a Super Rugby tile with the Force

Peter Grant will play for the Force in 2016

Former Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant says he is relishing the chance to have another shot at a Super Rugby title with the Western Force this year.

Grant came close to a Super Rugby title in 2010 when the Stormers were beaten by the Bulls in Soweto and has joined the Force for 2016.

The Force had a disaster of a year in 2015 as they ended last having won just three out of 16 matches but Grant believes that the Perth-based franchise can stake a realistic claim for the title in 2016.

The 31-year-old Grant’s optimism stems from the radical overhaul of the Force’s playing style. In recent years coach Michael Foley has tried to play a percentage game based on a tigerish defence and a strong kicking game, but the former Wallaby hooker has seen the light – he wants his team to make use of the ball in hand.

Central to those plans was finding an experienced flyhalf who has seen and done it all in Super Rugby, and there are few better than Grant, who played 104 games for the Stormers and featured in that 2010 final and a number of semi-finals.

Losing the 2010 final to the Bulls at Orlando Stadium in Soweto has made Grant hungry to go one step further upon his return to the premier southern hemisphere tournament with the Force, following a two-year stint with French club La Rochelle.

He is also a deadly goal-kicker, having accumulated 866 points with the Stormers to be sixth on the all-time Super Rugby points-scorers list.

“That’s all we’ve been working on in the off-season, is just playing a bit more of an expansive game and improving our skills and the interaction between the forwards and backs,” Grant told

“We’ve definitely worked hard on spreading the ball a bit more and playing an attractive, exciting brand of rugby, which I love and it’s the style of game I’ll play.

“I think maybe towards the end of last season they weren’t playing that style and it was a lot more kicking-orientated and defensive, but we want to change that whole attitude and be more attacking and aggressive.

“It was a great experience I had at the Stormers. It was a good career there, but the change was good for me. I haven’t won a championship with Super Rugby. I’ve played in a final but I haven’t won it, so there’s that achievement I’m aiming for.”

What will make Grant feel even more at home is the fact that his parents and two uncles live in Perth. There are also a number of South Africans who are part of the Force squad and team management, in particular, some from Cape Town such as his former Stormers teammate, utility back Marcel Brache.

Other South African connections include props Francois van Wyk and Chris Heiberg, loose forward Brynard Stander and utility back Dane Haylett-Petty. In addition, assistant coach Dave Wessels and backline coach Kevin Foote were involved with UCT in the past before moving to Perth.

But Grant is also hoping to help develop the young Force backline, especially talented inside centre Kyle Godwin.

“That’s part of my role and why Foles (Foley) brought me in – to play that mentoring part with the youngsters, because they do have a fairly young backline and there’s a lot of talent there which I’m hoping to have an influence on and help develop,” the five-Test Springbok said.

“The likes of Kyle Godwin, Luke Burton is another young star there that I think has great potential going forward. Whatever I can do to have an impact on their careers is what I want to do, because I want to give back a bit.

“I had Tony Brown join me at the Stormers for a year in 2008 when I was fairly young and I learnt so much from him. He might not have known it, but I was soaking up so much knowledge and so much of experience, so that’s the role I’m hoping to play with these guys as well.

“I’ve obviously got a lot of family there with two of my uncles living in Perth, one of them for over 30 years, and my parents as well, so that’s a big draw card. But I love the lifestyle of Australia, particularly in Perth.”

The Force start their Super Rugby campaign against the Rebels on February 27 in Perth. Grant will have to wait until the second-last league round to face the Stormers, as the Force are scheduled to take on Robbie Fleck’s team on July 9, also in Perth

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