VERSATILE former Springbok forward Danie Rossouw and star Lions fullback Jaco Taute could be the latest players being lined up to play for the Southern Kings in Super Rugby next year.
Though Kings officials are tight-lipped about who is on their shopping list, EP president Cheeky Watson said yesterday his union should be in a position to name about five new signings next week.
The burly Rossouw, formerly of the Bulls who now plays for Suntory in Japan, and Lions star Taute are players whose names have been linked to the Southern Kings this week.
At a media conference to announce the signings of lock Steven Sykes (Sharks), centre Andries Strauss (Cheetahs) and flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis (Western Province), Watson said the Kings had a budget of about R40-million for player recruitment.
"We had been hoping to name three other players today, but a couple of technicalities crept in regarding getting their contracts signed," Watson said. "By this time next week we hope to have possibly five new names to release because negotiations are at an advanced stage."
The EP boss admitted that some names had slipped through the net during negotiations and that a number of names of potential new signings were floating around and that was why he had called yesterday's meeting.
"We have had to consult with our partners Border and South Western Districts before making any announcements," he said.
If Rossouw and Taute are signed they will give the Kings a big boost as they bid to make an impression in the international competition featuring Australia and New Zealand's best sides.
EP's president said that the Kings were looking at contracting 12 players from the current EP squad to play Super Rugby.
"That figure changes because we have tough Currie Cup matches coming up and the door is open for a guy to perform under pressure situations.
"This is just the beginning of our recruitment drive. Because the franchise was announced late there are tremendous challenges involved in finding the players needed to put a competitive team on the field next year," he said.
Watson said the Kings were looking at finding players for strategic positions and he was delighted to have signed Sykes, Struass and Catrakilis.
"Catrakilis has had a very good Currie Cup season so far and played a pivotal role for Western Province and I think he can add tremendous value for this region.
"Strauss is a strong and physical backline player while Sykes, who comes from Cradock, will be coming home. We were very excited to sign him because the Kings want to bring players back home."