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Stormers avert crisis in centre swap with Bulls

TRANSFER NEWS: The Stormers will avert a midfield crisis in an exchange deal with the Bulls.

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The possibility of a midfield crisis arose after stalwart Ruhan Nel was forced to leave the field on a medical cart after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury in the first half of this past Saturday’s 16-15 United Rugby Championship win over the Sharks in Cape Town.

After the match, coach John Dobson told reporters that he doesn’t expect to see his star midfielder play again this season.

Nel injured his knee while attempting to step an opponent – one of those non-contact freak accidents.

Dobson hinted that Suleiman Hartzenberg can play No.13 and added he is “a good No.13”.

However, the Stormers coach dropped a hint that they already had a back-up plan, even before the injury.

“We have got another plan, but I might get into trouble if I share it now,” Dobson told a post-match media briefing.

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However, @rugby365com can reveal that Wandisile Simelane is heading to Cape Town.

In an exchange with the Bulls, the talented former South African schools and Baby Bok outside centre, Simelane, will join the Stormers.

The arrangement – made possible by some astute negotiations between Blue Bulls Company CEO Edgar Rathbone and Dobson – will also see Cornel Smit join the Bulls in Pretoria.

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The exchange deal could not have come at a more opportune time for the Stormers.

Smit, 26, has not had much game time with the Stormers since his debut in 2020.

He started in just two of his six outings for the Stormers, but made 30 appearances for Western Province – starting in 19.

In contrast, the 25-year-old Simelane – who was recently also linked with a move to the Sharks – has played 88 first-class games since his debut for the Lions in 2018.

He played 66 games (52 starts) for the Lions, before moving to the Bulls in 2022.

In Pretoria, he has not had as much game time – just 22 appearances (17 starts) for the Bulls.

Following the failed attempt to move to Durban, Simelane would hope for a change of fortune in Cape Town.

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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