By:Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
No less a personality than Naas Botha, the former Springbok string-puller in the position, suggested at the weekend that the 24-year-old “might have the best tactical kicking game of all (South African) fly-halves”.
Television pundit Botha also said Catrakilis’s confidence in wet-weather conditions would only enhance any possibility of a call-up to the Bok end-of-year tour.
It remains to be seen what national coach Heyneke Meyer’s plans are at No 10 for the three-game mission against Wales, Scotland and France respectively – Morne Steyn is the incumbent and Pat Lambie served the slot soundly on last year’s unbeaten European venture.
The young Cheetahs phenomenon Johan Goosen has also been back playing Currie Cup rugby over the last fortnight after a lengthy absence through injury, although he remains significantly undercooked in match-sharpness terms.
But multi-talented Lambie can also be deemed a utility player for the Bok party, so there may be a spot for a “third” flyhalf on tour and if Meyer decides to use the trip to have a look at a hitherto uncapped customer, Catrakilis is a worthy dark horse.
He may also have one last opportunity to tick some boxes in Meyer’s mind because the coach reportedly only intends naming the tour squad on Monday, two days after the Currie Cup final between WP (to whom Catrakilis recently re-committed for two years) and the Sharks at Newlands.
Both Catrakilis and Lambie, set to go tantalisingly head to head in the showpiece, were in fine general form and also major points contributors in their teams’ respective semi-final victories over the Lions and Cheetahs at the weekend.
Botha’s observations about Catrakilis’s tactical strengths are significant because “Nasty Booter”, as the SA legend became known in the outside world, is still considered one of the best dictators of play ever in wet and/or windy conditions.
The Boks can probably expect heavy, damp and cold conditions for much of their November assignment, even if the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, venue for the first clash against the Welsh, has the option of a retractable roof.