Kings unveil their first big guns
Kings unveil their first big gunsSHARE
Despite the Stormers management's best attempts to retain him, the Southern Kings on Wednesday named Western Province flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis among their first batch of high-profile signings.
Kings President Cheeky Watson told a media briefing in Port Elizabeth that Catrakilis, Free State Cheetahs centre Andries Strauss and Sharks lock Steven Sykes have all signed two-year contracts with the Kings – effective on November 2012.
This appears to end speculation over the future of Catrakilis, who was presented to the media at Newlands on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old, who has yet to make his Super Rugby debut for the Stormers, will start at flyhalf for WP against Griquas in a decisive Currie Cup match in Cape Town on Saturday.
While the media were unable to ask the No.10 any questions about his move to the Kings, the men from PE had no hesitation in 'unveiling' him as one of their star signings.
Catrakilis, who first shot to prominence playing for the University of Cape Town in last year's Varsity Cup, has struggled to crack the nod at Super Rugby level in Cape Town – with Peter Grant, Gary van Aswegen and Burton Francis ahead of him in the pecking order.
Rob Wagner, CEO WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd, recently told this website they were still negotiating with the player's agent.
Wagner said he spoke to the young flyhalf's agent even after recent reports of his departure appeared in the media and made a "counter offer".
However, this website has been reliably told that they will be unable to match the offer of a franchise which on Wednesday revealed that they have an annual salary budget of R40-million to ensure they field a competitive squad.
Twelve players from the current EP team, including the captain Luke Watson, have signed contract extensions through 2013.
The Kings boss, Watson, also revealed that they are in talks to sign more high-profile names ahead of the Super Rugby debut.
He said he was talking to a number of European-based players and several players in Argentina.
"We are talking to players all over the place," Watson said, adding: "We are talking to South African players based overseas and there are a couple of technicalities which we are looking at as we attempt to bring players on board."
Watson also stressed that there would be at least another three to five names unveiled within the next week or so.