Catrakilis joins Kings

WP flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis has signed a two-year deal with the Southern Kings.

Catrakilis has featured for Province during the Currie Cup over the last two seasons, but failed to make the match-day squad for the Stormers during this period. The lack of opportunities in Super Rugby is believed to be the main reason behind his decision to join the Eastern Cape franchise.

Cartrakilis will compete with George Whitehead and Wesley Dunlop, who have impressed in the Currie Cup First Division, for the No 10 jersey next season.

The 23-year-old follows Cheetahs centre Andries Strauss and Sharks lock Steven Sykes as the Kings’ new recruitments. Director of rugby Alan Solomons is happy with the quality of players his team has signed so far.

‘Demetri is the more experienced player among our flyhalves,’ Solomon told keo.co.za. ‘He’s shown great form during the Currie Cup Premier Division over the last two seasons for WP. His kicking at goal and out of hand has been excellent. I’m surprised he hasn’t played Super Rugby for the Stormers.

‘Steven Sykes and Andries Strauss also add plenty of value,’ he continued. ‘Steven has had a stint with Leinster in Europe and did very well for the Sharks during Super Rugby and the Currie Cup. He’s also a EP local boy, having gone to school at Marlow.

‘Andries will offer us plenty of experience and leadership. He’s shown his quality for the Sharks and Cheetahs in Super Rugby and travelled with the Springboks to Europe in 2010.’

Solomons added that the Kings have a recruitment plan in place to ensure they will be competitive in 2013. They only have a one-year guarantee in Super Rugby, and will have to feature in a promotion-relegation play-off against the Lions should they finish last in the South African conference next year.

‘We have a good recruitment plan in place, which will help strengthen our squad. Things have been going really well since it was confirmed that we will play Super Rugby in August. I’m confident we will have a team that can do the job next season.’

Meanwhile, Solomons confirmed that flank Luke Watson will be the first-choice captain going into Super Rugby. Watson leads the EP Kings in the Currie Cup First Division.

The player missed the opening rounds of the domestic competition due to a shoulder operation and a following quad strain. But he has shown great form in his four appearances, scoring eight tries which include two hat-tricks.

‘Luke is a player that will score plenty of tries for your team,’ said Solomons. ‘But it’s his general play that has been very impressive. He’s been in great form since coming back from injury.’

Watson’s form could be a boon for the Springboks, considering Heyneke Meyer’s team has struggled with injuries in the loose forward department. Meyer confirmed during his first interview as head coach that all South African players, including those playing in the Currie Cup First Division, will be in contention for national selection.

Solomons believes that Watson can add value to the Boks.

‘Luke has proven he is a quality player and he can make an impact at higher levels. But it’s up to Heyneke Meyer to decide on who he wants to use in his team.’

By Gareth Duncan