Speaking to Gavin Rich from SuperRugby.co.za, DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee suggested that UCT flyhalf Dimitri Catrakilis will get an extended run in the flyhalf jersey.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee returned from Potchefstroom at the weekend happy with the improvement his team made on their opening outing, and is confident that new flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis will be able to do the business against the Vodacom Blue Bulls this week.
WP picked up a crucial win against the Platinum Leopards, but after being held to a draw in their opening game against Griquas at home, the pressure is on to beat the Bulls as it is imperative that they don’t drop any points against a top team at Newlands. If you look back at the Stormers’ season in Super Rugby and then the draw against Griquas, the Cape premier side has struggled in Cape Town this year.
“We made a big improvement on the match against Griquas and I am pleased about that. If we keep on steady progress from one week to another we will be okay,” said Coetzee.
“A lot of people seem to think that going to a place like Potchefstroom to win is easy, but it’s not. There is also a reason why teams like ourselves and the Bulls have been a bit patchy so far (the Bulls beat the Cheetahs but were thumped by the Sharks in round one). There has been a lot of change to both teams because of players going to the Boks, and it takes time to bring a new team together and build continuity.
“We have four players missing from our pack, which means there are four new players making their mark. It was understandable they stumbled a bit in the first week and that there still isn’t a lot of consistency, but we are working on it and I have been particularly surprised by the form of Hilton Lobberts at lock.
“It’s been a long time since Hilton has played top rugby and as a result of that is fitness isn’t quite up to what is required over 80 minutes. You notice that he gets a bit tired after about 60 or 70 minutes. But as he plays more that match fitness will find its way into his legs and he will start performing over a full game.”
The absence in Japan of Peter Grant and the injuries to Gary van Aswegen, Lionel Cronje and Kurt Coleman mean that WP had to turn to their sixth choice flyhalf against the Leopards (Sam Lane, who would have been fifth, is also injured) in the form of Catrakilis, but Coetzee said he was more than happy with what the UCT star produced.
“It is the first time I have worked with him so it has been pleasing to note what he can do, which is quite a bit,” said Coetzee.
“I was pleased with his start for us. He is a damn fine goal-kicker, as shown by nine successful kicks against the Leopards out of 11, but it is much more than that, he has a good allround game too. What I was pleased with was the way he sees space and hits grass at the back (with his kicks).
“You don’t see a lot of flyhalves hitting the ball low like that, which makes it difficult for the opposition fullbacks and gives our guys enough time to get through and challenge the guy who is fielding the ball or to get the ball first. That awareness is not something that is easily coached, you either have it or you don’t.”
Catrakilis will continue in the WP No 10 against the Bulls at the weekend because Coleman is still not quite ready to start just yet.
“Kurt could start and play for 30 minutes or maybe he could come on as a replacement for the under-21s, but he is a week away from being able to start a Currie Cup game,” said the coach.