Giant winger a force on the field
Sevens rookie John Grant provided selectors and spectators with a demonstration of his potential during the grand final of the inaugural Noosa International Sevens at Sunshine Beach on Sunday.
The towering winger snared six tries for the Australian sevens team in the 55-10 demolition, ending the fairytale run of the Sunshine Coast Stingrays.
“He’s very raw. He hasn’t played a lot of sevens but he’s got all the tools,” Aussie Thunderbolts coach Michael O’Connor said.
“He’s been given a sevens contract for next year and will be with us for the eight (IRB Sevens Series) tournaments, which is exciting.”
Grant was recruited by the Thunderbolts after topping the try-scoring charts in the Sydney rugby premiership when he starred for Eastwood.
“They (sevens selectors) contacted me and said I should have a go,” the 195cm, 103kg three-quarter said.
“Noosa was really just my second one (sevens tournament).
“Sevens is a bit of a stepping stone I guess to Super 15. Hopefully I can be the top try-scorer in one of the (IRB Sevens Series) tournaments and we can go through and win the series.”
Grant showed strength, and surprising speed for a big man, to run through the Stingrays in Sunday’s decider.
Greg Jeloudev opened the scoring for the national side but then Grant ran amok, capturing four tries to propel the visitors to an unassailable 31-0 lead at half-time.
He added another five-pointer after the break before the Stingrays struck back to the delight of the crowd.
Pace ace Tom Cox produced a clean pair of heels to race 60m and score. He bagged another try soon after, collecting a long-range pass from James Radley to touch down and reduce the margin to 41-10.
But David Burn and Grant added two more tries for Australia to break a five-game winning streak from the Sunshine Coast.
“Obviously the final was a bit one-sided but we were just happy to get there,” Stingrays captain Matt Blain said after his team reached the decider.
The Stingrays toppled the highly-fancied Queensland Reds in a pool match on Saturday before beating Graduates in the quarter-final and Queensland Premier Grade preliminary final rivals Sunnybank in the semi-finals yesterday. The Reds, meanwhile, were dumped out of the tournament with a 27-5 quarter-final loss to Australia.