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South African URC pacesetters the Bulls and Stormers complete player swap

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Wednesday Jan 3, 2024

In a strategic move to enhance their midfield options, the Vodacom Bulls and the Stormers have sealed an exchange deal involving Wandisile Simelane and Cornel Smit, per a report in Rugby365.

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The confirmation of this player swap comes from Vodacom Bulls chief Edgar Rathbone. Simelane, a versatile outside back with proficiency in playing centre, wing, and fullback, is set to join the Stormers, while Smit will make the transition from Cape Town to Pretoria.

The motivation behind this exchange lies partly in addressing the Stormers’ midfield challenges, compounded by a season-ending knee injury to veteran centre Ruhan Nel. In response to the setback, head coach John Dobson expressed confidence in an alternative plan for the No. 13 position.

Wandisile Simelane, who has seen limited playing time with just five minutes as a substitute in the BKT URC’s opening nine rounds, will now have an opportunity for more regular appearances with the Stormers. Rathbone justified the decision, stating, “It is only fair to Wandi to give him a chance with the Stormers.” Simultaneously, Cornel Smit will remain with the Bulls until the end of September, ensuring his availability for the Currie Cup competition.

Rathbone clarified that Simelane’s contract with the Bulls concludes in June and will not be extended, marking the end of his stint with the Pretoria-based team. The exchange deal reflects a strategic manoeuvre by both franchises to optimize their player resources for the upcoming rugby competitions.

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