Dan Carter says the Crusaders will have to play smart and disciplined rugby in order to limit Peter Grant’s goal kicking threat.
The Stormers flyhalf has only played in nine of his team’s 16 games this season because of injury, but his boot has been central in their run to the semi-finals.
With a success rate of 85%, Grant is the most accurate goal kicker in Super Rugby this year. This has been pivotal in his Stormers’ close victories, notably in their triumphs over the Cheetahs (21-15) and Highlanders (18-6) at Newlands and the Bulls (23-12) and Sharks (16-6) away from home as he slotted 22 penalties and one conversion in those four victories.
Two hundred and thirty five of the Stormers’ 400 points have come from shots at goal. With wet weather expected in Cape Town on Saturday, goal kicking is set to shape the outcome once more.
However, the Stormers have lost three home matches this year – against the Reds, Crusaders and Bulls. Grant was absent against the Crusaders and Bulls, but those teams proved that a disciplined performance can nullify the flyhalf’s influence. Carter says that is what the Crusaders will aim for this weekend.
‘Peter Grant has been crucial for the Stormers in this regard. He has directed his team well and is a big part of their game. He also hardly misses, so we have to make sure we are disciplined against them. We can’t afford to concede penalties and give Peter shots at goal,’ Carter told keo.co.za.
Carter has been uncharacteristically inaccurate with his won goal kicking, and attributed his ordinary 73% accuracy rate this season to injury, but was confident he’d improve.
Crusaders skipper Richie McCaw echoed Carter’s views on discipline and said they were confident in referee Craig Joubert’s ability to ensure a fair contest.
‘Yes, there seem to be trends that refs set, especially at the breakdown. But we won’t be reading too much into that. We might prepare in a certain way, then find out the ref blows a different way on the day,’ he explained.
‘The boys will just have to adapt. There are things you can change and things you can’t, and we will look at the things we can control. We will need to be disciplined, get front foot ball and match them up front. We also have to take our opportunities. In the last game against the Stormers, one opportunity was the difference between the two teams.’
By Gareth Duncan