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Cape Town – The Stormers may come to regret their decision to play Peter Grant at flyhalf ahead of the in-form Kurt Coleman against the Western Force at Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 5.05pm).
Coleman has been at the heart of the Stormers' transformation to an attacking side while Grant has been a long-serving servant of Western Province and Stormers rugby since his arrival in Cape Town in 2004 and runs out for his 100th cap on Saturday.
Both players have been equally inconsistent as place-kickers this season but Coleman has made a difference by providing spark to the side's attacking game, something that Grant has been unable to do.
“Peter's experience and virtue will be very important to us. It has nothing to do with sentiment,” coach Allister Coetzee said.
“He is only the third player to reach that milestone. Kurt Coleman has done well off the bench and when it came to the stats there was very little to choose between them.”
In the absence of the injured Jean de Villiers, Damian de Allende will be at inside centre and Grant's service will be crucial to bring out the best of him. De Allende is a serious contender for inclusion in the Springbok squad and Grant's speed off the mark will play a big part in his effectiveness in midfield.
The Stormers have not been able to bank on an effective set-piece play, essentially because of frequent changes to the side but they have shown a penchant to strike with a fair amount of success from turnover ball. Last week's brace of tries against the Bulls were scored after they secured early turnovers.
The inclusion of hooker Deon Fourie will add to the Stormers' turnover capability and Western Force coach Michael Foley said he was aware of the threat.
“The Stormers have been one of the best defensive units in the competition for a number of years,” said Foley.
“As a consequence, our work on and off the ball will have to be first class on Saturday to get results.”
Fourie, however, has been frequently blown up for not throwing in straight at the lineouts and the Force captain Matt Hodgson said his side would be looking to get the upper hand at the set-piece where locks Michael Rhodes and Ruan Botha will be doing duty for the Stormers.
“There are areas we'll be looking at targeting and obviously we'll be looking to contest heavily at the lineout and get some good results there,” Hodgson said this week.
There is still uncertainty about the fitness of flank Schalk Burger and it is likely management will only make a call on match-day.
Apart from his leadership skills, Burger has played a big part in stepping up the tempo on attack with deft passes rather than crashing into the opposition's defensive walls.
Siya Kolisi will move off the bench if Burger fails the fitness test and Rohan Kitshoff will come in as a substitute to provide loose forward cover.
Grant will lead the team out and he will be followed by prop Brok Harris who plays his 93rd game for the Stormers and his 200th match for the Newlands-based Western Province Rugby Union. – Sapa