Catrakilis to give WP a tactical edge

2013-10-19 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Western Province would probably have to thank the Southern Kings rugby franchise for giving them another chance to have Demetri Catrakilis in the pivotal position for today’s Currie Cup semi-final match at Newlands.

The rugby bosses in Cape Town will still remember how Catrakilis put two important and game deciding drop goals between the poles during last year’s Currie Cup final for Western Province. At that stage, the Cape team had already underestimated the talented flyhalf’s skills and allowed him to sign a contract with the Southern Kings.

Instead of keeping him in Cape Town, the Western Province selectors hunted down the Lions’ Springbok number 10, Elton Jantjies, to use as their trump card during this year’s Super Series.

In retrospect, it clearly was a major error of judgment and Province can consider it very fortunate that the Kings have been relegated, which gave the Cape Town team a second chance to use Catrakilis.

This gives rugby connoisseurs and fans the opportunity to see Catrakilis and Jantjies squaring off against each other in today’s semi-final.

This could also be the duel that may decide the outcome of today’s match.

The Lions will probably approach the match in an adventurous mode when having the ball in hand, while Province will initially play conservatively and gradually break the back of the opposition.

For this, both teams have the ideal flyhalves. Jantjies has a good kicking boot, but it is his distribution of the ball that makes him such a sought-after player.

Catrakilis is the perfect player to — as coaches so often say — build an innings. He is able to tactically get his team in the right places on the field. And, of course, he rarely misses the poles.

“We will have to keep the ball in their half of the field. If the Lions want to attack us with the ball in hand, we will have to ensure that it is done from less threatening positions,” said Catrakilis.

“The Lions will probably aim for possession in our half. This is a semi-final. But whatever they are planning, we will counter it.”

Western Province: Gio Aplon, Gerhard van den Heever, Jean de Villiers, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Demetri Catrakilis, Louis Schreuder, Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi, Deon Fourie (c), De Kock Steenkamp, Eben Etzebeth, Pat Cilliers, Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff. Reserves: Frans Malherbe, Brok Harris, Michael Rhodes, Schalk Burger, Nic Groom, Kurt Coleman, Juan de Jongh.

Lions: Marnitz Boshoff, Chrysander Botha, Lionel Mapoe, Andries Coetzee, Anthony Volmink, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronjé, Warren Whiteley, Derick Minnie (c), Jaco Kriel, Franco van der Merwe, Chris van Zyl, Ruan Dreyer, Robbie Coetzee, C.J. van der Linde. Reserves: Willie Wepener, Jacques van Rooyen, Julian Redelinghuys, Willie Britz, Warwick Tecklenburg, Tian Meyer, Robert de Bruyn.

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