SU­PER RUGBY

Force calls on ex-Spring­bok Grant

NT News - - SPORT -

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.

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