Kings president Cheeky Watson confirmed that the franchise wanted to sign former Springbok prop Brian Mujati.
Mujati is currently based in England with the Northampton Saints, where he’s been playing since 2009 after stints with the Lions and Stormers in Super Rugby.
Reports up north state that the Zimbabwean-born front-rower will head to French club Racing Metro after the European season.
Springbok head coach Heyneke Meyer wanted to pick Mujati during the team’s end-of-year tour to Europe, but the South African government disallowed the selection. It’s believed that the 28-year-old must be based in South Africa to qualify for national residency – like loosehead prop Beast Mtawarira, who was also born in Zimbabwe.
Meyer then called up Leinster prop Heinke van der Merwe instead.
The Kings wanted to offer Mujati the opportunity to return to South Africa, but his services would’ve come too late.
‘His current contract only ends in May, and that’s halfway into Super Rugby,’ Waston told keo.co.za. ‘We saw him as a possible player to recruit, but unfortunately, things didn’t work out.’
Watson added that the Kings were still waiting for Saru’s decision on their second appeal to lift the foreign player rule, which states that South African franchises may only include two internationals in their final Super Rugby squads.
The Kings have already signed New Zealand utility back Hadleigh Parkes from the Blues and Argentine scrumhalf Nicolas Vergallo from Toulouse. Former Highlanders prop Clint Newland and Samoan speedster Paul Perez, who played for the EP Kings in this year’s Currie Cup First Division, have been released.
It’s believed that more foreign players could join the Kings squad, if they receive clearance from Saru.
By Gareth Duncan