SA No 10s in gripping battle
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town – Three South African flyhalves are engaged in a
fierce tussle to be the leading points-scorer in Super Rugby, both in a
domestic conference sense and more broadly, this year.
The trio of Handre Pollard (Bulls), Demetri Catrakalis
(Stormers) and Elton Jantjies of the Lions are the only players,
competition-wide, to have reached or eclipsed the 150-point mark.
The last-named two got to that landmark – or in Catrakilis’s
case past it – in Saturday’s action, where the Stormers pivot grabbed 17 points
in the 42-12 grilling of the Cheetahs at Newlands, while Jantjies contributed
12 in the Lions’ praiseworthy 27-22 triumph over the Waratahs to keep their
playoffs dream just about alive.
Catrakilis and Jantjies now go head to head in more ways
than one at Newlands this weekend (Saturday, 17:05) as a mere four points
separate them: the former has 154 from 14 appearances this season and the
latter 150 from 15.
It is a tantalising prospect because both men are in
sprightly general form as well as off the tee, even if Jantjies fluffed a few
late chances at Emirates Airline Park to put the ‘Tahs game well out of reach
of the visitors.
The Bulls’ current Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard still
leads the Super Rugby points pack with 167 from 12 matches, although his
franchise have lost three tour matches on the trot and are now in real danger
of missing the finals series – that means Pollard may have just two
ordinary-season games left in the competition, against the Rebels in Melbourne
and Cheetahs back in Pretoria.
Jantjies, of course, ends his 2015 Super Rugby interest if
the plucky Lions cannot win in Cape Town; they have a bye in the last round
ahead of the playoffs.
So perhaps the obvious favourite to become the tournament’s
leading points-scorer is the “Greek God” of the conference-leading and overall
second-placed Stormers, who need one more win from two matches (Lions, Sharks)
to be sure of the conference laurel and automatic installation into the
Catrakilis has a stellar kicking success of 90.3 percent,
including nailing 39 of 43 penalty attempts and 17 of his 19 conversions.
That is well superior to the percentages of both Pollard
(77) and Jantjies (79.5).
Although these are the leading threesome, lurking just below
the 150-mark is the Waratahs’ Bernard Foley (146) and then Lima Sopoaga of the
Highlanders (140); the latter’s team are already guaranteed a ticket to the
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