Catrakilis at flyhalf for Province against Lions

Western Province Currie Cup coach Allister Coetzee has named Demetri Catrakilis at flyhalf for their crucial clash against the Golden Lions at Newlands on Saturday.

Last weekend, Catrakilis rescued Province from certain defeat when he snatched the matchwinning points against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

His successful drop goal would have weighed heavily on the selectors’ minds when they opted to drop the younger Kurt Coleman.

“We know what we want to achieve this week and the competition has reached a stage where the level rises to Super Rugby standards,” coach Allister Coetzee said on Wednesday.

“Demetri showed last week that he can remain calm under pressure situations and that’s the kind attribute that we need for this match against the Lions.

“He knows our playing systems well and even when the team goes out of the system he is capable of directing play efficiently.”

Both Catrakilis and Coleman were deadly accurate place-kickers and the latter would provide back-up on the substitutes’ bench.

Louis Schreuder was preferred to Nic Groom at the base of the scrum and the latter was equally useful as a back-up player.

Coetzee stressed the importance of the back-up staff because the Lions had shown tendencies to finish off strongly in their matches this season.

“It always looks like the Lions are capable of closing out their matches rather strongly but, more often than not, their opponents become sloppy and that sort of thing has given the Lions a ‘kick’,” said Coetzee.

“We need to put two (excellent) halves together against a team like the Lions otherwise we’ll get badly hurt.

“For 80 minutes, we have to make sure we stay in our structures and respect the ball. We have the players on the bench who sustain our challenge right to the end.”

In the pack, the rookie number four lock Tazz Fuzani dropped out of the match-day squad to make way for Michael Rhodes, who had played at flank more often but was equally efficient in the second row.

Rhodes’ absence in the loose trio would be filled by Rynhardt Elstadt.

Schalk Burger would again start out on the bench and, apart from providing loose forward cover, Coetzee also said he would operate at lock if the need arose later in the game.

The Western Province under-21 skipper and loose forward Josh Katzen had been a bundle of energy after joining the fray as a substitute and had been retained, deservedly, on the bench.

Western Province

Gio Aplon, Gerhard van den Heever, Michael van der Spuy, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Demetri Catrakilis, Louis Schreuder (vice-captain), Nizaam Carr, Rynhardt Elstadt, Deon Fourie (captain), De Kock Steenkamp, Michael Rhodes, Pat Cilliers, Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: Frans Malherbe, Brok Harris, Schalk Burger, Josh Katzen, Nic Groom, Kurt Coleman, Ryan Nell.

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