Nerveless Demetri can go all the way

Sun, 03 Mar 2013 09:29
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Feeling unwanted in Cape Town, Demetri Catrakilis made a move many so-called pundits regarded as a 'career killer'.

Feeling unwanted in Cape Town, Demetri Catrakilis made a move many so-called pundits regarded as a 'career killer'.

However, the 23-year-old flyhalf's decision to join up with the underdog Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth may just prove to be a masterstroke.

Matt Sexton, the Kings' New Zealand coach, has been around some of the best flyhalves in  the world - including the bedazzling All Black legend Dan Carter - and he feels Catrakilis has what it takes to "go all the way".

And at the Eastern Cape franchise he will also get the exposure he lacked while playing understudy to a number of No.10s in Cape Town.

"He is a player that has a massive future," Sexton told this website in an exclusive interview, when asked about the attributes of Catrakilis - who was a pivotal player in their 22-10 debut win over the Western Force in Round Two.

"He is pretty unflappable, to be honest," the Kiwi mentor told this website, adding: "You saw some of that in that game last weekend."

Sexton, who joined the Kings from his native New Zealand in July 2012, said the young Catrakilis has a great "all-round" skill set.

"He is brave on defence, he has a lovely kicking game, good hands and is very composed under pressure.

"Those are the makings of a world-class No.10.

"Obviously he needs some more experience, but he has the potential to go al the way."

And, according to the Kiwi mentor, the Kings' flyhalf also have enough in the top two inches to make him a Bok candidate in time to come.

"He is intelligent, he understands the game and to me he just looks like a player who has time," Sexton said, adding: "He is going to be great for us."

Catrakilis, nicknamed The Greek God because of his Greek and Cypriot origins, attended St John's College in Johannesburg - where he played for the first XV as a 15-year-old. He then went on to captain the first team in his final school year and finished as the school's all-time highest point scorer.

He represented the Golden Lions Under-18 team at the Craven Week and then also the Lions Under-19 team.

Spotted by French Top 14 team Racing Metro, he enjoyed a brief stint with the Under-23 squad in France before returning back home to South Africa.

Catrakilis had a season with False Bay in the Western Province Premier club league, before he was recruited by the University of Cape Town scouts to represent the Ikey Tigers during the 2011 Varsity Cup.

He was the highest point scorer of the tournament with 136 points – the highest in the history of the Varsity Cup – and helped Ikeys win their first Varsity Cup, beating the University of Pretoria 26-16 in the Final, with Catrakilis picking up the Man of the Match award.

He was then drafted into the Western Province Vodacom Cup team and was subsequently promoted to the WP Currie Cup team. In the 2011 Currie Cup season he scored 150 points with the boot - producing a 84.21 percent success rate.

However, in 2012 he was overlooked by the Stormers coaching staff, but then became the first-choice flyhalf for Western Province in the Currie Cup competition - proving instrumental in WP's successful 2012 campaign, where they ended a decade-long drought by beating the Sharks in the Final.

Still feeling unwanted at Super Rugby level he signed to join the Kings and looks set to continue his meteoric rise in Port Elizabeth.

By Jan de Koning

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