Stormers newcomer Wandisile Simelane Springbok

Stormers newcomer Wandisile Simelane. Photo: @Stormers

Like Libbok, can Simelane revive career at Stormers?

Wandisile Simelane will hope a stint at the Stormers helps him become a Springbok, as was the case with Manie Libbok.

Stormers newcomer Wandisile Simelane Springbok

Stormers newcomer Wandisile Simelane. Photo: @Stormers

Wandisile Simelane joined the Stormers in early January, and he is now set to make his debut against the Sharks this weekend.

There have always been great expectations around Simelane, who has been seen as a potential future Springbok centre, but his career has stalled in recent times, with his move to the Bulls from the Lions failing to work out.

As Simelane hopes to revive his career and Springbok ambitions, it’s impossible to not draw comparisons to flyhalf Manie Libbok, who saw his career stagnate at the Bulls and Sharks before finding a new lease of life at the Stormers.

At the attack-minded Cape side, though, Libbok was empowered to play a style of rugby that suited him perfectly, and last year he enjoyed an incredible run with the Springboks that culminated in World Cup triumph.

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Stormers coach John Dobson has already hinted that big things could also lie ahead for Simelane, who has clearly really impressed the coaches in Cape Town.

“He has been outstanding. We are so excited by him,” Dobson told reporters on Tuesday.

“There is so much more to him than we realise. We knew about his step, but his work rate, the way he gets off the ground, his support lines, his second touches, his backstory, his personality and his desperation to become a Springbok. All of that.

“He is someone we want to keep here for a while. We are really thrilled with him. He will definitely be involved over the next couple of weeks.”

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Wandisile Simelane making an impression at Stormers training

One of Wandisile Simelane’s teammates and close friends Hacjivah Dayimani is also convinced that the midfielder will fit in perfectly at the Stormers.

“I went to school with him from Grade 8, we went into hostel together and we played for the Emirates Lions together so we know each other really well and I am very excited about what could come out of Wandisile’s move to the Stormers,” said Dayimani.

“The way we play is definitely a style that suits him and I think he is going to excel playing for the Stormers. He is already loving the culture and the vibe, and of course, he’s with his best friend.”

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Talent to burn

“Wandi will definitely improve here and I told him he has made the best decision ever,” Dayimani added. “Only maybe a few years later than he wanted to. He has got so much X-factor and so much talent and if he works hard and fulfills that talent I am convinced he could be one of the best players this country has ever seen. Particularly if he works on the aspects of his game that I know he will.

Simelane’s natural talent has been clear for everyone to see since his junior days, but it is the future that looks especially bright for the fleet-footed centre as he settles into life as a Stormer.

CONFIRMED: Rassie Erasmus NO LONGER director of rugby