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Kings eye up English-based fly-half

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PRO 14    

Kings axe more than 20 players and eye up Premiership fly-half for next season

Since the Southern Kings were acquired by The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World Ltd, with the private equity investor taking a 74% controlling share in the team, the franchise’s ambitions have seemingly been raised.

The Port Elizabeth-based side have brought in Robbi Kempson as high performance director and the Guinness PRO14 side have been linked with a number of high-profile players.

The Kings were rumoured to be interested in Toulon‘s Julian Savea, with the French club having entered into an affiliation agreement with the Kings, but that prospective move was shot down by the player himself on social media. The Kings have added Jerry Sexton for the 2019/20 season, though, with the younger brother of Johnny Sexton making the move from Jersey Reds in the Greene King IPA Championship.

According to an interview with Rapport, Kempson and the Kings are set to let more than 20 players leave the franchise next season, as they remodel their squad and attempt to move up the conference table in the PRO14. As part of this rebuild, one player that Kempson has his eye on is Harlequins fly-half Demetri Catrakilis.

Demetri Catrakilis in action during the captain’s run at Twickenham Stoop. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Harlequins)

Kempson told Rapport, “We are still in negotiations with Demetri’s agent and Harlequins, just to make sure everything is done according to the book, but we will definitely reveal more about him next week.”

Catrakilis, 29, has another year left to run on his deal with Harlequins, but the South African has found his playing time limited in the English capital, with Marcus Smith the regular starter at fly-half and James Lang usually the player who rotates with the young star.

Catrakilis joined the club from Montpellier, where he had a productive stint, but an unfortunate injury in his debut for Quins, which saw the fly-half break a bone in his throat, has made it difficult for the Johannesburg-native to establish himself in the senior squad.

Should Catrakilis opt for a move to the Kings – and the franchise can negotiate his release from his Quins contract – he will be returning to familiar ground, with arguably his standout season to date coming in 2013 when he played for the Kings in Super Rugby. His form that season warranted a call-up to the Springbok training squad, albeit he has yet to make his international debut.

If Kempson can add the veteran playmaker for next season, he would join the recently signed Courtney Winnar in a battle for the 10 jersey, with the former Sharks man making his debut for the Kings this past weekend.

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Kings axe more than 20 players and eye up Premiership fly-half for next season