Stormers newcomer Wandisile Simelane. Photo: @Stormers

Former Kaizer Chiefs & Moroka Swallows player gets big shot at Stormers

A former Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows junior will make his first start for the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.


Stormers newcomer Wandisile Simelane. Photo: @Stormers

Wandisile Simelane may be one the most promising talents in rugby at the moment, but before his switch to the oval-ball game, he was a protégé soccer player with trails at Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows.

The 25-year-old joined the Stormers earlier this year in a highly publicised move in an attempt get his career back on track after unsuccessful stints for the Lions (2018-2022) and Bulls (2022-2023).

Since linking up with the Stormers, Simelane has far exceeded expectations but the midfielder had to bide his time in terms of making it into the star-studded team.

On Friday though, Stormers boss John Dobson confirmed Simelane’s first-ever selection in their starting lineup for the URC showdown against the in-form Edinburgh in the Mother City on Saturday.

Given his unique skillset and high rugby IQ, the marauding midfielder is sure to make a bigger impact at the Stormers than he was allowed at the Bulls and Lions.

But before he became one of the elite talents in rugby, Simelane was an aspiring soccer player who went for trails at Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows.

Growing up in Power Park, Soweto, the soccer-loving Simelane lived less than 10km away from the three major stadiums in the township.

His father soon realised his first-born had an outrageous turn of pace with skills unlike any of his peers. Game by game, day by day, hopes in the Simelane household and the Power Park community grew that the boy could become a professional soccer player.

‘People encouraged my dad to take me to soccer trials because they believed I had the potential to join an academy at one of the big clubs,’ Simelane told SARugbymag in 2018. ‘I played for Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows.’


When one of his school teacher’s tried to convince him that he’d excel in rugby, the soccer-mad Simelane was hesitant but ultimately gave it a go and the rest is history.

From Kaizer Chiefs and Swallows, Simelane went on represent the Lions at U13 and U16 Craven Week, but also Simelane played for Soweto giants Moroka Swallows in the U15 Nike Cup in 2012.

He later made the Lions U18 Craven Week side, the SA Schools team (U18) and the Junior Springboks squad. That paved the way for Simelane to transition into the professional ranks of the local rugby landscape.

Simelane has now settled in Cape Town with the aim of taking his game to the next level and with his selection to start at outside this weekend, he has a free run to make the No 13 jersey at the Stormers his own.

Bulls URC Wandisile Simelane Stormers, Kaizer Chiefs
Wandisile Simelane will join the Stormers from the Bulls. Photo: Deon van der Merwe/BackpagePix.