At a suburban rugby ground in Brisbane’s north on Sunday, I met former Springbok five-eighth Peter Grant, still running around a rugby paddock at 34. We talked about rugby and the opportunities it provides for you more so than any other sport. The camaraderie that it instils is second to none and the greatest event of the 20th Century was how the 1995 World Cup in South Africa united the Rainbow Nation under Nelson Mandela.
I told him I have friends in Japan well into their 50s that regularly play rugby on the weekend, that’s when he replied that he played four seasons for Kobe Steel. The conversation ensued on how rugby provides an opportunity to travel the globe playing a game you love. Born in Durban to farm owners, Grant, grew up dreaming of playing for the Natal Sharks. When he matriculated from Maritzburg College his father told him he would never make money from rugby so he did business at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape province of South Africa. His skills on the rugby pitch were not overlooked and the Super Rugby franchise the Stormers picked him up, eventually playing 104 games for them. He also went on to play 5 test matches for the Springboks, at a time when they had some of the best No. 10s playing the game.
From 2010 to 2014 he played the offseason with the Kobelco Steelers, one of the most successful company clubs in Japan, winning the inaugural Top League in 2003/4. Currently, Dan Carter is the Steelers five-eighth. After Kobe, Grant played a season, 2014/15, with La Rochelle in the French Top 14 before joining the Western Force for the 2016 season. He has settled in Perth with relatives galore and has established his own family. Grant told me that Andrew Forrest is a great man with deep pockets that wants to see rugby succeed in a country dominated by AFL and NRL. The exciting part is that Asia is the future for rugby expansion and Twiggy Forrest with his World Series Rugby will be part of the future when Super Rugby dies and comes begging for a solution. As for Peter Grant, he just wants to get a bit of land in Western Australia and get back to his roots and run a farm. A true gentleman of rugby.