Catrakilis, Van Aswegen back in training
DHL Western Province could have the option of three top flyhalves for Friday’s Absa Currie Cup showdown against the MTN Golden Lions in Johannesburg.
Gary van Aswegen, who missed the narrow win over GWK Griquas, was back in training at the HPC in Bellville on Monday and looks likely to return to the side for the match at Ellis Park.
However, should he not get through a full day of training on Tuesday, coach Allister Coetzee could also have the option of Demetri Catrakilis.
The Southern Kings flyhalf, who is back in the Cape on loan, also trained on Monday, along with centre Pat Howard and utility back Michael van der Spuy, who have both been struggling with hamstring injuries.
It was Catrakilis’s first session since being injured playing for the Kings in a promotion-relegation game, so it is unlikely he will be rushed straight back into the starting team.
Kurt Coleman made some mistakes, such as a long kick-off at the start of the game and a dropped ball at a restart, but was otherwise fairly fluent in the No 10 jersey against Griquas, and also succeed with all four kicks at goal.
He will also be in the selection mix for the Johannesburg game, which Coetzee is viewing as one of the big tests of the domestic season for his side.
The Lions thrashed the Bulls 62-23 in Pretoria last weekend, signaling their return to form, and Coetzee has taken note of the performance.
“You don’t often go to Pretoria and put 60 points past the Bulls. It was an awesome performance from the Lions at Loftus Versfeld. They were clinical in everything they did and played at a very high tempo,” said Coetzee.
“The Bulls were ahead 23-20 with 30 minutes left in the match, but the Lions, with their effective ball-in-hand style of play, scored an incredible six tries to come away with a deserved victory. As good as the Lions were in victory, we had to draw on our ‘get out of jail free’ card to beat Griquas in Kimberley. Hopefully we have learned our lessons from that performance and will be up for the challenge posed by the Lions.”
Province are the only unbeaten side in the competition after three matches, although they did drop log points when they were held to a draw by the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the opening game two weeks ago.
While the Lions have hit form after a slow start, WP have yet to hit their straps after making a sluggish start to the defence of their trophy, but they do top the log by a point from the second-placed Sharks.