Witsie makes a mark as he makes his first international rugby debut. WITS STUDENT and Lions player Wandisile Simelane made his international debut in the Vodacom Super Rugby union at the José Amalfitani Stadium in Argentina on Saturday, February 16.
Super Rugby is a professional rugby tournament that includes teams from Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa. Simelane told Wits Vuvuzela that playing in the international tournament is an achievement for his rugby career.
“It was a great accomplishment but rugby stays rugby. It was obviously great but I didn’t try and make the occasion any bigger than what it was. I just stayed calm and enjoyed it,” the 20-year-old said.
For the first time in their history, the Lions beat the Jaguares 25-16 on Saturday. Wits rugby head coach Hugo van As described Simelane as a great and skillful player.
“He’s amazing, very talented. He’s destined to go all the way. He has speed, and acceleration. His ability to beat defenders makes him special.
“They put him on for a couple of minutes which is a good move, not throwing him in too quick. [The short] time was enough to give him exposure. I would blend him in like they’ve been doing at the moment,” Van As told Wits Vuvuzela.
The centre player has also played for the u/20 Junior Springboks and won 2018 Junior Springboks Player of the Year.
Lions media and public relations manager Annemie Bester said that Simelane has been in action for the Lions at other levels for a few years now.
“As such, the coaches are very familiar with their strengths and weaknesses.
They both did what was expected of them and played their part in the victory – a first for the Emirates Lions in Argentina in Super Rugby,” Bester told Wits Vuvuzela.
Simelane spent a year with FNB Wits and proceeded to join the Lions senior team in 2019. However, the rugby player started his journey with the Lions when he signed a contract with the team after completing high school in 2017, when he also received a full rugby bursary at Wits. He made his first debut with the Lions at the 2018 Currie Cup.
FEATURED IMAGE: Wandisile Simelane takes away the ball at a Lions match. Photo: Provided