Rugby 16.4.2014 03:10 pm

Grant selected at fullback

FILE PICTURE: Peter Grant during the DHL Stormers training session and press conference at DHL Newlands Stadium on April 02, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ziyaad Douglas/Gallo Images)

FILE PICTURE: Peter Grant during the DHL Stormers training session and press conference at DHL Newlands Stadium on April 02, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ziyaad Douglas/Gallo Images)

Despite their five-match losing streak, the Stormers have taken a calculated gamble by selecting flyhalf Peter Grant at fullback for their Super Rugby game against the Lions at Newlands on Saturday.

While playing at flyhalf, Grant has not imposed himself on matches this season and his place-kicking has not been reliable.

Rather than drop him, the Stormers selectors have moved him to fullback and opted to play Demetri Catrakilis at halfback instead.

Catrakilis has been the most reliable place-kicker in the squad but like Grant, has not been able to spark the team’s Springbok midfield.

“Demetri’s kicking record speaks for itself,” Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said at Wednesday’s team announcement in Cape Town.

“Peter is familiar with fullback play since he has played there in Japan, and also many years ago when he was with the Maties (Stellenbosch University.

“Peter has had an ankle injury and that has caused him to lose confidence when place-kicking.”

Coetzee also felt with Grant at fullback, instead of the out-of-form Jaco Taute, the Stormers will have added attacking options.

“I am confident that Peter will make good decisions and when we have attacking scrums in the middle of the field he can come in as a first receiver and swop roles with Demetri,” Coetzee said.

“At fullback, Peter offers composure and physicality.”

The return of fit-again centre Jean de Villiers has resulted in Damian de Allende moving out to the wing.

De Villiers and centre partner Juan de Jongh, De Allende have been the only backline players apart from injured Gio Aplon to do their reputations proud in recent matches.

De Allende’s midfield performances have been heartening but Coetzee felt he could still play a meaningful role on the wing.

“The selectors have agreed that the best (available) players must be chosen this week,” said Coetzee.

“The captain is back (from injury) and it is right to play Damian on wing, since he’s played well there before.”

De Villiers said that after two weeks on the sidelines he could see that the team management had prepared the team well for the Lions.

“It is nice to see that everything is back in place (after the bye),” said De Villiers.

“While I was out I was able to see the circumstances that the team played under.

“We need to evolve as a team and in order for that to happen we must get our (playing) processes right, especially the ones that we were doing wrongly.”

Stormers team: Peter Grant, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Sailosi Tagicakibau, Demetri Catrakilis, Nic Groom, Duane Vermeulen (vice-captain), Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr, Michael Rhodes, Ruan Botha, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: Stephan Coetzee, Pat Cilliers, Brok Harris, Jurie van Vuuren, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Louis Schreuder, Devon Williams.

Sapa

 

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