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Bash needs to back himself

Fri, 25 Apr 2014 06:24
Peter-grant-goalkick630
I haven't been aggressive enough
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Experienced Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant is hoping that a positive mental shift will see him back to his consistent best soon.

The 29-year-old pivot has hardly played for the best part of a year, and as a result has not had the smoothest return to Super Rugby in a struggling Stormers side.

Two serious injuries and a lack of game-time in Japan were always going to make things tough for him this season, with the last year something of a write-off.

"Just after last season I had a bit of ankle trouble so I was out for a while and I took the opportunity to fix my shoulder. I had a repair done on my shoulder and bicep tendon which put me out for seven months.

"I only started playing midway through the season in Japan so I have been out for a long time. In Japan I was on the bench for about four or five games and because of the foreigner policy - Andries [Bekker] and Jaque [Fourie] were in the same team as me so they were getting a lot of game-time - so I ended up only starting one league game," he explained.

One of the major issues since his return to Cape Town has been his erratic goal-kicking, which eventually saw the more reliable Demetri Catrakilis win his starting spot back against the Lions last week with Grant shifted to fullback.

Catrakilis went off with a broken nose in the first five minutes, so Grant did not spend much time at fullback and put in a more assured performance at flyhalf, although his goal-kicking was still not as reliable as it was a few seasons ago when he hardly missed.

Grant believes that his biggest problem this season has been a lack of confidence after effectively coming in cold when the Stormers were on tour, and believes that a more assertive approach will do him more good than any technical adjustments.

"I have been out of the game for a while but since I have been back I have been practicing and practice is very different to kicking at Newlands because in practice it has been going very well.

"I just think it has been a year that I have been away from Newlands and I think when I arrived I had a bit of doubt about whether I could do the same thing and that has obviously built up in my head a bit bigger than it actually is.

"Technically you can obviously fault it when you miss a kick but I think it has mostly been my approach and because I have been quite hesitant in my actual follow through, I haven't been aggressive enough and I have been a bit tentative," he said.

Grant said that he has adjusted physically to the demands of Super Rugby after getting some valuable game-time under his belt, and believes that it is now about making a similar mental shift to get back to his best.

"It is about setting my mind straight and being confident again. I have done it before for many seasons now so I have just got to go back with that confidence that I am very capable of doing it again so hopefully it comes right," he said.

Conditions in Bloemfontein this weekend will be much better for goal-kicking than they are at Newlands, so it presents a great opportunity for Grant to get his kicking sights back and restore some confidence.

With Johan Goosen still out with concussion he will be up against Elgar Watts on Saturday, and if he can get the Stormers over the line we could see a completely different Peter Grant the next time he plays at Newlands.

By Michael de Vries

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