Wandisile Simelane has put his hand up to make his DHL Stormers debut in the coastal derby against the Sharks in Durban after making a strong impression during the mid-season break.
Simelane arrived in Cape Town in early January, completing a mid-season transfer from the Vodacom Bulls that saw Cornel Smit travel in the opposite direction.
The former Junior Springbok star has yet to get a run for the DHL Stormers, as the focus has been on getting him up to speed with the team’s attacking and defensive structures.
However, it appears that, having been able to utilise the three-week break in the season to his advantage, Simelane could make his heavily anticipated debut when the Stormers return to action against the Sharks on 17 February.
Stormers backline coach Dawie Snyman told Netwerk24 that he sees something “special” with what Simelane can bring when he has the ball in his hands.
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“What I have seen of him in our training sessions is impressive,” Snyman told Netwerk24. “He is skilled and has speed and I think he will fit in well with us because of his skills and the way we defend.
“We’re aggressive off the line, so he won’t necessarily have to make those big tackles up front.
“He is now working hard with Norman [Laker, defensive coach] to get the hang of our system and I saw in the game against the Ikeys that he has an incredible workrate. He will quickly get back to his feet after carrying the ball and get himself into position. It’s a guy who really looks for work.”
The Stormers will be without Springbok trio Deon Fourie, Damian Willemse and Manie Libbok, who are all being rested in accordance with SA Rugby protocol.
However, Snyman confirmed that utility back Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu is fit again and will offset the loss of Willemse and Libbok. Young flyhalf Jurie Matthee, who made a strong impression in his tournament debut against Leicester Tigers in the Champions Cup, is also in contention to start at flyhalf.
Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images