The Kings have signed Lions hooker Bandise Maku and two internationals in Kiwi utility back Hadleigh Parkes and Argentina scrumhalf Nicolas Vergallo.
Maku exits the Lions after spending two years in Johannesburg. He missed the entire 2012 Super Rugby season through injury, but made his comeback during the current Currie Cup campaign.
The 26-year-old also spent five seasons at the Bulls, while he played one Test for the Springboks, against Italy in 2010.
Director of rugby Alan Solomons believes Maku’s experience will help the Kings during their debut Super Rugby campaign next season.
‘Bandise comes with plenty experience during his time with the Lions and the Bulls,’ Solomons told keo.co.za. ‘He’s also played for the Springboks.
‘He’s a hometown boy, having gone to Dale as a schoolboy. He also represented Border at the U18 Craven Week.’
Solomons added that the recruitment of Parkes and Vergallo will give the Kings’ squad some much-needed international pedigree.
‘Hadleigh has played for the Blues in Super Rugby and captained Auckland in the New Zealand Cup,’ said Solomons. ‘His ability to play centre, wing and fullback creates depth in the backline.
‘Nicolas is also an experienced scrumhalf for the Pumas. They’ve rotated their No 9s during the Rugby Championship, and both of them have performed really well on the Test stage. Nicolas also boasts some European club experience as he joins us from French Top 14 champions Toulouse.
‘We struggled to sign South African players with international experience because of the late announcement in August. But we are hoping guys like Hadleigh and Nicolas can add value in this regard.’
Meanwhile, the Kings are yet to hear a reply from Saru with regards to their request to lift the restrictions of the foreign player rule. According to current regulations, South African franchises may only field a maximum of two internationals.
However, Kings president Cheeky Watson is confident that their request will be accepted.
‘We are not sure whether we will be allowed to field as many as six internationals, but we haven’t received any rejections yet,’ Watson told this site.
By Gareth Duncan