The Kings’ request to the South African Rugby Union (SARU) to allow them more than two foreign players in Super Rugby has been rejected.
The Eastern Cape franchise has five overseas players on its books – three more than the allowed number for South African teams in Super Rugby. They are fullback Hadleigh Parkes, scrumhalf Nicolas Vergallo, utility forward Daniel Adongo, hooker Virgil Lacombe and loose forward Tomas Leonardi. They were all recently included when the Kings announced their Super Rugby squad.
The Kings’ request was rejected by SARU at the end of last year, but the men from Port Elizabeth were still hoping on a change of heart from the country’s rugby administrators. Their president, Cheeky Watson, said two weeks ago they were “still talking to various role players”.
However, it appears that SARU’s decision was made final at a meeting on Friday, with an official announcement regarding the matter expected to be made on Monday.
The Kings will play in the Super Rugby competition at the expense of the Lions. It will be the first time a team from that region has played Super Rugby since 1994 when Eastern Province played in the old Super 10 series.
The Kings start their campaign against Australia’s Western Force in Port Elizabeth on 23 February.