Cape Town - Stormers No 10 Demetri Catrakilis answers YOUR questions.
He talks Springbok selection, Super Rugby expansion and what the Stormers should expect against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday...
Ellen Pitt asked: Back at flyhalf and you break your nose. Were you able to identify the culprit?
Demetri Catrakilis: Apparently it was Derick Minnie, but even if I watched the game back I wouldn’t be able to tell because right now my eyes are closed! I was looking forward to the food over Easter, but unfortunately wasn’t able to taste any of it. I’m set to miss two games and will more than likely be back in time to face the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on May 10.
Mark Fleming asked: In the modern game, fair to say positional lines have become blurred? Often the number your wear on your back is not necessarily where you end up on the field of play…
Demetri Catrakilis: Yes, of course. I’ve noted that Quade Cooper, for example, often defends at fullback. Rugby is becoming a lot more like soccer in that you get roaming players, but that said, in the oval game the role of specialist players is still significant. In soccer, the game is played a lot more on instinct whereas in rugby there are more set plays in place and therefore it’s more structured.
Senzo Mashele AfroSlim asked: You got your first taste of Super Rugby with the Kings. Why did you move? In my opinion, the Kings suited your style of play.
Demetri Catrakilis: I really enjoyed my time in Port Elizabeth. I learned a lot and would never take back that experience. Alan Solomons really backed me and entrusted me with a leadership position within the side. In terms of tactical decision-making, I believe I grew as a player. The primary reason for returning to Cape Town was because the Kings failed to qualify for the 2014 Super Rugby season. I wanted to continue to play topflight rugby with an aim to give myself a shot at Springbok selection.
Donnay Buys asked: Do you see yourself in the Springbok Rugby World Cup squad in 2015?
Demetri Catrakilis: (Laughs). I first need to get a lot of game time. Once that box is ticked, plenty of hard work will have to follow. To play at Test level, I know that I need to keep putting the hours in and from then on it’s not really in my hands anymore… Making the Bok squad serves as motivation to most all local rugby players and I’m certainly no different.
Patrick Mettler asked: You can drop kick just as well as Marnitz Boshoff. Have you been instructed not to attempt drop kicks this season or is it simply by choice?
Demetri Catrakilis: There has been no instruction when to kick and when not to kick, it’s been down to choice. The drop goal tactic, while a dangerous weapon, depends on the individual game situation. So far this season, an opportunity to drop kick hasn’t presented itself, but hopefully it does soon so I can once again be known as the ‘Drop Goal King’.
Eddison Cupido asked: If you had the choice to play for any other Super Rugby franchise, who would you choose and why?
Demetri Catrakilis:From a South African perspective, it would have to be the Lions. As a youngster, I grew up in Johannesburg and was a big Lions supporter. I still have family and friends who live there. If I had to choose an overseas side to play for it would be the Melbourne Rebels. I love the fact that they are underdogs almost every weekend – I really enjoy when the underdog triumphs.
Reuben Mentor asked: Super Rugby is set to expand to either 17 or 18 teams in 2016. Is there significant depth within South African rugby to warrant a sixth franchise?
Demetri Catrakilis: Competition-wise, I believe our five franchises, at present, are pretty close. I don’t, for instance, see a huge difference between the team coming first and the team coming fifth in the South African conference. On the whole this season, while our standard of play could be higher, I don’t think a sixth team coming into mix would do any harm to South African rugby. If anything, it would mean more top players plying their trade at the highest level.
Shaun Le Feuvre asked: When I watch South African derbies, I see our rugby deteriorating to its caveman roots. How do you see this changing?
Demetri Catrakilis: South African sides place emphasis on physicality, defence and a kicking game as it’s proved a real strength. But, as soon as South African teams make the mental switch and find the ideal balance between attack and defence, I believe we will take our rugby to the next level.
Enrico Frazenburg asked: Care to share some fun facts about your team-mates…
Demetri Catrakilis: Sure, I can tell you that Damian de Allende thinks he’s the biggest hit with the ladies - and is probably right. Dean Fourie would definitely be the one with the shortest fuse both on-field and off. One player in our side who could beat Duane Vermeulen in an arm wrestling contest would be Samoan import Sailosi Tagicakibau. And Nic Groom regards himself as something of a linguistic: he speaks English, Afrikaans and Xhosa, but I’d give him a mark of two out of three as he’s not fluent in the latter two languages.
John Chandler asked: The Stormers next tackle the Cheetahs. How do you see the basement battle playing out on Saturday?
Demetri Catrakilis: The Cheetahs are a really good attacking side and can score tries from almost anywhere on the field. As such, Allister (Coetzee) will want the team to keep the game more structured than it was against the Lions. The tighter the game is, the better I believe it will be for the Stormers. As a team, we have been focusing on playing for the full 80 minutes from the start of the season, and while it’s yet to come off, we remain determined to deliver a complete performance.
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