Lions leaders delighted for Simelane

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen and captain Elton Jantjies are very happy with Wandisile Simelane’s performance against Griquas on Friday.

Simelane put in a man-of-the-match performance as the Lions got the first win of their campaign with a nine-try bonus-point victory over Griquas in Johannesburg.

The 22-year-old has had limited game time this year, having been used as an extra substitute in the Lions’ first two games of the season, playing behind Burger Odendaal and Dan Kriel.

However, Simelane certainly made the most of a rare starting opportunity, putting in a typically dynamic performance, during which he assisted three tries and scored one himself in the second half.

Speaking after the game, Lions captain Jantjies backed Simelane to keep improving.

‘We are very happy with Simmy. He has been working hard and has been kept accountable,’ Jantjies said. ‘He has shown his willingness to grow as a player.

‘Tonight just showed what type of a player he is, a guy who takes ownership of his job. I am very happy about that.

‘We have got a great backline. We created a lot of opportunities and we actually didn’t take three or four of those.

‘I am very happy for Wandi. I wish him well and for him to improve every single day working with the management, the players, listening to the guys and getting into his game. I really think he will get better every week.’

Lions coach Van Rooyen commended Simelane for taking his opportunity.

‘Wandi had a good game. I think there was a number of guys who had a good game,’ Van Rooyen said. ‘We all know how dangerous Wandi is when he is in open space.

‘He is a world-class attacker when he is one on one. He had the opportunity tonight to do that. He is a very exciting youngster who is keen to learn and keep on growing. We must commend him for that.’

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

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Dylan Jack