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Kieran Houlston to Bring the Fire to the Tel Aviv Heat’s Backline

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

The Tel Aviv Heat is proud to announce that talented backline player, Kieran Houlston signed on to join the team for the inaugural Rugby Europe Super Cup season.

A product of St John’s College in Johannesburg, Houlston reunites with his old school boy rugby coach Kevin Musikanth as The Tel Aviv Heat start their preparations for a tough away schedule beginning in October 2021.

After Musikanth identified Kieran as a talented u16 rugby player with a bright future, Kieran went on to captain St John’s College as the pivot (fly-half), setting the new school scoring record with over 300 points over two seasons. Kieran’s skill set has provided valuable versatility, allowing him to impact games at fullback or fly-half before earning a slot as a starting inside centre for the Sharks u21 squad.

As a matric boy Kieran was one of the first school boys ever to win a gold medal in a senior rugby team when he played for SA Maccabi senior team in 2017 (despite being young enough to turn out for the u18 team) playing and starring in the senior 7s final in which South Africa beat the hosts in a close match.

Since then, Kieran has played for WITS and the Sharks u19 team before moving to the Lions u21 squad. Recently, Kieran attended SAS academy in Stellenbosch, working under the expert guidance of Blitzbok legend Frankie Horne. Kieran is a left footed kicker with speed and power to break tackles and a keen eye for a gap.

In addition to links with Musikanth, in his youth Kieran looked up to the attack coach for the Tel Aviv Heat, Demetri Catrakilis, who preceded Kieran as a star fly-half and captain at St John’s College before going on to be a marquee fly half with the Stormers, Montpellier, and Harlequins, among others.

Kieran is the nephew of the late James Small, a Springbok rugby legend, who we all remember being part of the famous 1995 World Cup winning final, where James had the task of marking the late Jonah Lomu.

Demetri Catrakilis on Kieran Houlston:

I watched Kieran play throughout his school career, being an old boy myself, I was impressed how Kieran lead from the front at fly half in a year where against the odds St John’s beat big schools for the first time in 13 years. As a left footed kicker he will give us options in our backline and I look forward to facilitating his talent while coaching him this upcoming season. Kieran has all the attributes to go all the way and we are fortunate to have such young talent in our squad….

Kieran Houlston on signing with the Tel Aviv Heat:

I’m grateful to have this opportunity with the Tel Aviv Heat, I’m also just so excited to play rugby again. Something about this move feels right, Coach Kevin took me under his wing while playing at St John’s for three years, he then took me to the Maccabi games in 2017 with my uncle being the back line coach, so Israel really does hold some special memories for me. I have spent some more time with the Israeli team since then and have grown to love what they are doing to develop the rugby culture within the country. I’ve been waiting to be part of a professional environment since I left the Sharks and with the team and coaches the Heat have put together have exceeded my expectations. Demtri went to St Johns and I looked up to him as a young player so I’m really excited to be coached by him. Now it’s time to prep and get ready to win games…

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