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at the Union Buildings in Pretoria

Grant’s return boosts Stormers

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iol spt mar1 Stormers

Gallo Images

Coach Allister Coetzee believes the Stormers have the right backline mix ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby clash against the Reds. Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

Johannesburg - The return of Peter Grant has been a big plus for the Stormers on their tour of Australasia, the union said on Tuesday.

Grant, who was injured for most of last season, flew straight from Japan earlier this month to join his team-mates for the start of their away tour.

He has played off the bench twice this season - against the Crusaders and the Chiefs - and is looking forward to more game time against the Brumbies in Brisbane on Saturday and the following 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, near Sydney, on Tuesday.

“It was great wearing the 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 Stormers and I'm really looking forward to more game time in the coming weeks.”

Grant, who boasts 92 Super Rugby caps and nearly 850 points behind his name, knows he also has a big role to play off the field as a long-time and experienced member of the squad.

“The young guys seem to have some respect for me. 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.”

Grant admitted he was a little panic-stricken while playing against the Chiefs, but said the team had to remain calm and it was up to the 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 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 Stormers' No.10 saw 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.

“It would be a huge boost ahead of seven home games between then and July. It won't be easy, but we can do it.”

Sapa


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