Catrakilis can play attacking game

Demetri Catrakilis insists he can send the ball wide for Western Province when required, writes BRENTON CHELIN.

Province have grabbed a four-try bonus point in each of their first two Currie Cup outings, scoring 10 tries along the way. They have shown a willingness to keep the ball in hand, transforming themselves from a one-dimensional defensive outfit into an unpredictable beast, capable of striking from any position.

Catrakilis, the flyhalf who has been tasked with implementing this new expansive game plan, has welcomed the change of approach.

'I'm really enjoying the style of rugby we're playing at the moment,' he said at Newlands on Wednesday. 'We're slowing the ball down and speeding it up when we need to. There's a lot more running going on, which I think the fans enjoy, and so do we on the field.'

While there has undoubtedly been a change in the mindset, it has not been all-out attack from the Cape side. Instead, the players have been encouraged to play each individual situation, something reflected by the fact that Catrakilis lies second in kicks from hand during the Currie Cup this season, behind only last weekend's opponent Jacques-Louis Potgieter.

As chief decision-maker, Catrakilis has to decide when to pass and when to kick. The success, or failure, of Province's new game plan lies with him.

For the most part, though, Catrakilis has shown a willingness to keep ball in hand this season, with Cheslin Kolbe and Seabelo Senatla just two of the players who are reaping the rewards.

'There is some pressure to get the ball into their hands,' admits Catrakilis. 'But I also need to find field position and keep our forwards on the front foot.'

'The tough part comes in finding a balance, but I've been working on my all-round game. If the coach wants me to run the ball more then I run it, or send it out wide.'

Province's new approach will face its sternest examination yet this weekend, as they welcome the table-topping Lions to Newlands.

With only points difference separating the two teams at the top of the log, and with the Sharks following close behind, Catrakilis understands the importance of winning your home matches, especially with trips to Loftus and Ellis Park on the horizon.

'We're not talking too much about favourites at the moment,' said Catrakilis. 'They're coming down here this weekend and we need to win at home. We know what we need to do, now it's just a case of going out there on Saturday and delivering.'

Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix