Simelane links up with the DHL Stormers

rugby05 January 2024 09:00| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel
article image
Wandisile Simelane © Gallo Images

The worst kept secret in rugby was confirmed Friday as Vodacom Bulls outside back Wandisile Simelane joined the DHL Stormers as part of a swap deal between the two sides.

Simelane, who joined the Bulls last season from the Emirates Lions, but struggled to find a permanent spot in the Bulls line-up, first tried to make a move to the Hollywoodbets Sharks, but that fell through.

The talented former SA under-20 midfielder was played at wing and fullback by Bulls coach Jake White, hardly being selected in his preferred 13 jersey after White said he needed to be more versatile if he had Springbok ambitions.

This season Simelane hasn’t featured at all for the Bulls in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship and his move was first mooted by coach John Dobson, without naming him after the Stormers win over the Sharks last weekend.

Simelane becomes a perfect replacement for Ruhan Nel, who is out for the season after sustaining a knee injury against the Sharks and will join up with his new team-mates this week in Cape Town.

The other part of the swap is with midfielder Cornel Smit, who joins the Bulls from the Stormers in search of more game time.

Simelane’s move means that Dobson has a plethora of options in the midfield now, including Damian Willemse, Sascha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Dan du Plessis, Suleiman Hartzenberg, Warrick Gelant and Ben Loader who can all slot into the midfield.

Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that Simelane is a welcome addition who will fit his team’s game model perfectly.

“Wandisile is an incredibly talented player who is looking for a new start and we are happy to give him the opportunity to grow here where he will be competing with some top players already in our system.

“We pride ourselves on helping players get their careers on the right trajectory in our environment and we all know the huge potential he has, so hopefully we can help him realise that here.

“Of course with Ruhan Nel ruled out with a long-term injury the timing is perfect for us and we hope to see Wandile hit the ground running,” he said.

Dobson thanked Smit for his service to the team he grew up supporting and wished him well for the future.

“Cornel is a product of our system and a talented player who has added immense value both on and off the field here.

“He has been competing for places with some top midfielders, which has meant that he hasn’t got the gametime he would have liked or that he deserves, given his talent and dedication.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t make him any guarantees, but he is a top man who will strengthen any squad and he leaves with our best wishes,” he said.

Simelane said that he is looking forward to joining his new teammates and starting an exciting new chapter in his career.

“The Stormers are a great team to watch and I can’t wait to see what I can do in that system, surrounded by some top players and coaches.

“This is a big move for me and I’ll be doing all I can to integrate into the squad and add value as soon as possible,” he said.