Coleman out as Grant in for 100th game

2014-05-16 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The Stormers’ decision to drop flyhalf Kurt Coleman for the under-performing Peter Grant should be a worry for the fans.

On Wednesday, Grant was named to start in the number 10 jersey for tomorrow’s clash against a high-riding Western Force outfit at Newlands (kick-off at 5.05 pm).

He will play his 100th Super Rugby match for the franchise, joining Andries Bekker (105) and Jean de Villiers (104) as the only men to have played a century of Super Rugby games for the Stormers.

Coleman, though, should count himself unlucky not to retain his place in the starting team, as he has brought new impetus to the Stormers’ attack in recent weeks.

With Coleman at number 10, the Cape side scored four tries against the Highlanders a fortnight ago — a feat last achieved by the Stormers in 2011. They also outscored the Bulls in Pretoria last week, despite going down 28-12.

Grant, on the other hand, is struggling for confidence and his goal-kicking has been way off par this year. He is a shadow of the player who converted 93% of his goal kicks in the 2012 season when the Stormers topped the overall log.

Coach Allister Coetzee told yesterday’s Die Burger that it “is the right thing to do” to pick Grant in the starting line-up for his 100th game.

He said Grant has been a stalwart to the union for many years and picking him to start is a “matter of respect” and that it “depicts our team culture”.

In the same interview, Coetzee insisted that the decision to start with Grant was not based on sentiment.

“Peter’s experience and virtue will be very important to us. It has nothing to do with sentiment,” said Coetzee.

Since his return from Japan, Grant has been tried and tested in three different positions — flyhalf, fullback and inside centre — and looked out of sorts each time.

It is, therefore, clear he was not picked for rugby reasons alone for tomorrow’s clash. A player out of form should not be picked purely because he is set to reach a milestone. Grant would get as big a cheer from the Newlands faithful if he “appeared” for his 100th later in the game as he would leading the team out.

The Stormers have, in recent weeks, shown promising glimpses of the attacking mentality their new director of rugby, Gert Smal, wants them to display. They may go back into their shells a bit tomorrow, though.

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