Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
20 Aug 2014
4:06 pm

Bigger WP playbook allows Catrakilis to prove detractors wrong

Heinz Schenk

Without a noose hanging around his neck, Demetri Catrakilis is acutely aware that he hasn't yet made the Western Province No 10 jersey in the Currie Cup his own yet.

FILE PICTURE: Demetri Catrakilis during the DHL Western Province training session. Picture: Petri Oeschger/Gallo Images

It’s been a year of transition for the 25-year-old pivot since moving back to Cape Town following a short but productive stint at the Kings in last year’s Super Rugby tournament.

For some, the suspicion persists that the former Varsity Cup hero for UCT doesn’t quite possess the variety of skills to become the proverbial complete flyhalf but Province’s new and broader playbook provides him with an opportunity to prove the critics wrong.

“I’m really enjoying the style of rugby we’re playing at the moment,” said Catrakilis on Wednesday.

“We’re slowing things down when we need to and speeding them up when we need to. There’s a lot more running going on, a lot more unexpected things that we as players are enjoying trying to execute.”

Yet to unleash the unbridled attacking potential of a backline featuring Seabelo Senatla, Juan de Jongh and Cheslin Kolbe, a side needs a canny distributor and that renders Catrakilis’ efficiency essential.

“I’m excited getting the ball into those guys’ hands. I enjoy watching them and it’s a pleasure playing with them,” he enthused.

“But it does place a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. There’s pressure to get possession to them but we have a varied game-plan. That means I also have to kick for field position to keep our forwards in the game as well. It’s a good challenge finding that balance.”

Vitally, Catrakilis doesn’t feel the requirement of a broader skillset is difficult to adjust to.

“I haven’t been required to change much to be honest. I’ve been working on my game all-round throughout the year. When the coaches ask me to run it a bit more, I’ll do that. If I need to distribute and use the boot more, I’ll adapt.”

The table-topping Lions, their opponents at Newlands on Saturday, will provide him with a stern test in terms of decision-making and, importantly, time to make them.

“We all are going to need to be on our toes. It’s a really tough challenge this week. Whatever we need to do this week is going to have to happen a bit quicker,” said Catrakilis.