If Peter Grant were to accept an offer from the Force it would equate to career suicide.
The Perth-based franchise are currently chasing the Stormers’ pivot in an attempt to fill the void left by Matt Giteau at the end of the season. According to The Australian, James O’Connor is no longer the man marked to succeed Giteau.
‘James might not be the No 10,’ Force chief executive Greg Harris told the newspaper. ‘We’ve been in conversation with Grant for a few weeks and he is fairly interested in coming across.
‘His parents are now living in Perth and he wants to become an Australian.’
Apart from the advantage of being close to his family, the move would make little sense from a rugby perspective. The Stormers are struggling and are likely to lose a few Springbok players after the British & Irish Lions series, but the Force are no better when it comes to challenging for a Super Rugby title. Without players like Giteau, they will compete for the wooden spoon in 2010.
Ruan Pienaar is the incumbent Bok flyhalf, and although Grant was snubbed at the end of last year he can’t be far from claiming the role of understudy. Even if coach Peter de Villiers did bring Butch James back into the fold ahead of the Lions tour, Grant would come back into contention ahead of the 2011 World Cup.
If Grant has a valid reason to jump ship, one wonders why Australia would be an option. The money’s better in Europe, and the challenge completely different to that of a tired Super Rugby format. If he swapped the Stormers for the Force, he’d effectively be swapping Cape Town for Perth, but diminishing the chance of earning a Bok recall. Having played five Tests for South Africa, he’s unavailable for Australia.
The Stormers could ill-afford to lose Grant at this stage. Willem de Waal is respected as an experienced and accomplished goal-kicker, but does not possess the range of skills required to penetrate a Super Rugby defence. Outside of these two, the Stormers only have Joe Pietersen at pivot, a utility player who is better suited to the back-three.