Southern Kings flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis is on the verge of a special Vodacom Super Rugby milestone when his team hosts the Highlanders at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Catrakilis, in his first season of Vodacom Super Rugby, needs seven points to advance his season total to 100. If he manages this, he will become the 10th player to reach a century of points in 2013, joining fellow-South Africans Morné Steyn (Vodacom Bulls, 148 points), Pat Lambie (The Sharks, 119) and Joe Pietersen (DHL Stormers, 104) in Club 100.
Last year’s Vodacom Cup Player of the Year (then still in the colours of DHL Western Province), has thus far kicked nine conversions, 24 penalty goals and one drop goal for a total of 93 season points.
Should be make it to 100 on Saturday, Catrakilis will become the first South African in seven years to hit this magic figure in his debut season at Vodacom Super Rugby level.
The last local player to do this, was Peter Grant for the DHL Stormers in 2006, while Steyn did it for the Vodacom Bulls in 2005.
Six more South Africans have reached 100 points in their first season of Vodacom Super Rugby – four of them in 1996. They are Jannie Kruger (Northern Transvaal), Henry Honiball (Natal), Joel Stransky (WP), Gavin Lawless (Transvaal) and André Joubert. In 2001, Butch James scored 100 points for The Sharks in his first season.
The Kings’ Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons, said his team has “freshened up” before the Highlanders encounter after last weekend’s disappointing defeat to the Waratahs.
“We looked at ways to freshen things up generally,” said Solomons. “With that in mind there have been some changes to the squad. Luke (Watson) comes through and I thought that was one of the big positives of the weekend. He played well and is back to full form and takes his position as captain.”
Andries Strauss, who captained the Kings in Watson’s absence this season, will play in his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby match on Saturday. He made his debut for The Sharks in 2006 and represented them 22 times, before playing 18 matches at this level for the Toyota Cheetahs. This will be his 10th in Kings colours.