Harlequins fly-half Demetri Catrakilis has revealed he is ready to join forces with compatriot and old acquaintance Tim Swiel – insisting the pair will not squabble over the No.10 shirt – as the former Montpellier man embarks on his maiden Aviva Premiership Rugby season at the London club.
Catrakilis, who previously plied his trade at three South African Super Rugby franchises, is one of John Kingston’s most high-profile signings of the summer.
The 27-year-old has been training alongside compatriot Swiel, who, like Catrakilis, also has Super Rugby experience in his homeland.
But rather than eyeing his former Western Province teammate as a potential threat who might limit his first-team opportunities, Catrakilis will utilise the pair’s longstanding relationship to help the club better its sixth-place finish in the table last season.
“Timmy and I have been keeping in contact with each other for the last seven years, we’re good friends,” Catrakilis.
“We’re going to be picked for the same position, but I’m there to help him out and he’s there to help me out, however we can, both on and off the field. We really don’t see it as a competition – it’s more like a partnership.
“We’re part of one team. We were only chatting about it the other day and we’re really looking forward to giving tips on each other’s game this year and playing with the rest of the team.
“It will be the first time that I’ve had a relationship like that with a fellow fly-half.”
South African-born Catrakilis, who is of Cypriot and Greek heritage, made the decision to join the London club following his first season at the Top 14 side after helping Montpellier beat Harlequins in the 2016 European Challenge Cup final.
Although the 27-year-old publically announced he would be joining Harlequins for the 2017-18 season, he chose to honour his two-year contract at the French giants.
“We knew going into that final that we were up against a really big team, so once the club [Harlequins] showed interest in me, it was really hard to turn it down and look away from,” said Catrakilis.
“It wasn’t any different for me, even though I knew I was going somewhere else at the end of the season.
“I think for other people at Montpellier, it was hard to accept, but that was just the case. I’ve always known Harlequins like most rugby people do.
“Traditionally and historically, the club was always a big attraction for me, it’s a massive club.”
1 – Demetri Catrakilis attempted 29 penalty kicks at goal in the TOP14 last season, and missed just once – a success rate of 97%. Reliable. pic.twitter.com/pewAVrJfKw
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) August 3, 2017
And Catrakilis, who won two Currie Cups with Western Province while being a key figure for the Stormers in Super Rugby, has already set his sights on targeting domestic silverware in a Quins jersey.
“I’ve won cups with all three of my other clubs and I’d love to help get Harlequins into the top four and win that league trophy to keep that track record going,” he said.
“I haven’t moved to Harlequins to not win anything.”