Force calls on ex-Springbok Grant
THE Western Force has the chance to restore some pride in Australian rugby against the Highlanders at nib Stadium tonight, and they’ll be banking on a South African to get the job done.
Australian teams are an astonishing 0-17 against New Zealand sides in Super Rugby this season.
The Highlanders are riding high following a seven-match winning run.
But the Force are also full of confidence after becoming the first Australian Super team to win in Argentina last week when they produced a shock 16-6 triumph over the Jaguares.
The Highlanders are laden with All Blacks, while the Force doesn’t even come close to matching it when it comes to star power.
The continued absence of Matt Hodgson (ankle), Ben McCalman (shoulder) and Dane Haylett-Petty (hamstring) has further tested the Force’s depth.
But the inclusion of former Springbok Peter Grant into the No.10 jersey this week gives the Force some much-needed experience in what shapes as a high-stakes clash.
Grant was overlooked for selection in the opening nine rounds of the season as coach Dave Wessels turned to Jono Lance to steer the team as the key playmaker. Round 13 (NT times) TODAY: Hurricanes v Cheetahs (5.05pm), Force v Highlanders (7.15pm), Sunwolves v Sharks (9.25pm) TOMORROW: Lions v Bulls (12.45am), Kings v Brumbies (3am), Waratahs v Rebels (3.35pm) BYE: Jaguares, Reds
Grant finally got a gig on the bench in the round-10 loss to the Lions, and a fractured hand to Lance has seen the 32year-old former Springbok thrust into the playmaker role against the Highlanders this week.