Stormers newcomer Wandisile Simelane Springbok

Stormers newcomer Wandisile Simelane. Photo: @Stormers

Will Stormers stint propel Simelane back onto Springboks’ radar?

There are early signs that Wandisile Simelane could quickly revive his career at the Stormers, as well as his Springbok ambitions.

Stormers newcomer Wandisile Simelane Springbok

Stormers newcomer Wandisile Simelane. Photo: @Stormers

There have always been great expectations around Wandisile Simelane, who recently moved to the Stormers after reaching a key crossroad in his career. The 26-year-old is 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, there is good reason to believe that the Stormers will bring the best out of him once again, especially under the guidance of brilliant coach John Dobson.

A successful stint at the Stormers can turn Simelane into a Springbok

Just this past weekend, Simelane made a massive impression in his first start at outside centre, the highlight of which came when he produced a beautiful line break before proving the pass assist for a crucial try.

“Wandi is going to be special,” Dobson told media after the match. “What you can all forget about – like with Joseph Dweba’s throwing – is worrying about Wandisile’s defence. He understands our system completely and he’s proper.

“We thought a lot about playing him at Loftus (2 March) against his old team (the Bulls) with Dan not really a No 13. Maybe I made a mistake there… We felt like a bit of our spark was back.”

Centre could follow in footsteps of another Bok

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.

There is every chance that Simelane could follow this route, particularly considering that the Springboks are intent on expanding their depth at outside centre beyond Lukhanyo Am and Jesse Kriel.

The Stormers will next face Irish side Ulster, and there is an interesting selection headache for Dobson to remedy as Warrick Gelant, who missed Saturday’s match to manage a long-term knee problem, is expected to be available for selection.

“You almost want two of them to get injured, so you don’t go through that,” Dobson joked. “It’s very tricky. Wandi was great and you have to keep Suleiman (Hartzeneberg) in the team. We are thrilled with Ben Loader and Warrick is coming back.

“It’s tomorrow’s problem.”