Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
7 May 2022
3:14 pm

Big move for Simelane and a massive blow for the Lions?

Ross Roche

The Bulls are building a squad that can compete in three competitions next season.

Wandisile Simelane in action for the Lions during their recent URC match against Connacht at Ellis Park. Picture: Gallo Images

The Lions are set to receive another mega blow to their midfield stocks as centre Wandisile Simelane is on the verge of joining the Bulls.

A report in SA Rugby Magazine on Saturday suggested that the Bulls were set to announce Simelane as their latest signing, hot on the heels of the announcement that Sharks wing Sbu Nkosi would make the move up to the Pretoria franchise at the end of the season.

The move will be a massive blow to the Lions who have already lost Simelane’s centre partner Burger Odendaal to English Premiership side Wasps, and with the union having limited resources they will be left scrambling for a replacement.

Marius Louw is reportedly set to join the Lions from the Sharks, in what would be a straight replacement for Odendaal, but that would still leave Simelane’s position open.

Manie Rass could be the player to make a step up, having played a few United Rugby Championship (URC) games this season in rotation with Simelane, while young Henco van Wyk is an exciting young talent, but it will still leave the Lions very thin in the midfield.

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For Simelane, if the move goes ahead it will be a strange one as he will join a union with massive depth and could struggle for game time at the highest level.

The Bulls are building a squad that can compete in three competitions next season – the European Rugby Champions Cup (ERCC), URC and Currie Cup.

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In his preferred position of outside centre Simelane will be battling it out against Lionel Mapoe, Cornal Hendricks and Stedman Gans for a starting berth in the ERCC and URC competitions.

Simelane has also featured on the wing, most notably during his Junior Bok career, and for the Lions at fullback, however both of those positions are also fully stocked at the Bulls, and if he doesn’t hit the ground running he could find himself playing Currie Cup rugby regularly.