Qual­ity leader Grant will keep push­ing to lift NNK

Things fi­nally start­ing to look up after WP Emerg­ing squad recog­ni­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - DUD­LEY CARSTENS

WHEN the fi­nal whis­tle sounded to an­nounce NNK’s first win of the 2016 Su­per League A sea­son against Bel­har this past week­end, the men from Parow cel­e­brated like they just won gold at the Rugby World Cup.

And right in the thick of things was cap­tain and No 8 Bran­don Grant. He is that kind of cap­tain – the one who takes lead­ing from the front to a whole new level.

As much was ev­i­dent in the nar­row 27- 26 win over their vis­i­tors last Sat­ur­day.

After be­ing sent to the cooler after a few words of frus­tra­tion, Grant re­turned and “apol­o­gised” to his team­mates by tak­ing a quick- tap penalty to­wards the end of the match, dart­ing over for what turned out to be the win­ning five- pointer that se­cured their first win of the cam­paign.

It had to be Grant, who coach Wil­bur Kraak de­scribes as a “qual­ity leader off and on the field”, who scored the fi­nal touch­down.

But while his hero­ics were enough for the league points that day, the 28- yearold ad­mits that it hasn’t been easy to in­ject con­fi­dence into his play­ers this sea­son.

“It hasn’t been easy when you can see a bunch of guys de­jected after a big loss or even a close loss for that mat­ter. But you’ve got to keep push­ing and lift them up – not only in team talks, but you have to mo­ti­vate guys in­di­vid­u­ally as well,” he said.

NNK are still at the foot of the ta­ble and in need of a mir­a­cle to avoid rel­e­ga­tion, but Grant is con­fi­dent that his team can still play in the top- flight next sea­son.

“It’s nice to be on the win­ning side for a change and the op­por­tu­nity is still there to sur­vive the drop. We’ve got five games left and that’s our goal now,” he added.

With his team bat­tling the odds and Grant lead­ing from the front, his gung- ho ap­proach has also been no­ticed by the West­ern Prov­ince hi­er­ar­chy and he was called up to the WP Emerg­ing squad for the first time in his ca­reer.

For a player who has never worn the hooped jersey, this is the ul­ti­mate high.

“I’ve been at this club ( NNK) since 2006, and had two shoul­der op­er­a­tions that kept me out of the game for a while,” Grant said.

“I’m very proud to be as­so­ci­ated with NNK and I’m thor­oughly en­joy­ing my rugby at the mo­ment. Be­ing at City Park with the Emerg­ing squad is a great ex­pe­ri­ence for me, get­ting to know play­ers from other clubs.

“I’m just in­cred­i­bly proud of that as I put in a lot of ef­fort in over the years and next to my name ( on the squad ros­ter) is NNK and I’m re­ally proud of that. If I make the ( fi­nal) team, it would be a feather in my cap.”

I GOT FIVE ON IT: Gung-ho Bran­don Grant charges in last week’s morale-boost­ing win over Bel­har.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.