Kings boost Super squad

FormerJunior Springbok lock Irne Herbst and three players who graduated from the Eastern Province junior ranks are among six new Super Rugby signings announced by the Southern Kings. The latest batch of recruits means the Kings have contracted 26 players for the upcoming campaign. Kings head coach Deon Davids said the recruitment process would continue as the Kings build to their opening match against the Jaguares at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on February 25. “We’re in the process of finalising contracts with a number of other players and we’re also busy putting together a list of players who we would like to form part of the wider squad on a trial basis,” he said. Herbst, who played for the SA U20 side in 2013 and represented Currie Cup finalists Blue Bulls, will bring added power to the Kings pack. He will be backed up by Chris Heiberg, a prop with experience of Super Rugby at the Stormers and Western Force over the last four seasons. Another addition to the Southern Kings’ tight five is Wandile Putuma, who made his mark for the Border Bulldogs’ age-group teams before moving to Kimberley, where he represented Griquas in the Currie Cup Premier Division this year. These three experienced players will be joined by Garrick Mattheus (flyhalf), Yaw Penxe (wing) and Sintu Manjezi (flank/lock). Mattheus was a member of the EP squad that won the SA Rugby U19 Championship last year, while Penxe, who was still at school last year, played for the EP U19s this year. Manjezi has come through the EP structures and represented the province at U16, U18, U19, U21 and senior levels. “It’s encouraging to see these players keen to sign up to get a taste of Vodacom Super Rugby,” Davids said. “Irne , Chris and Wandile will provide some experience and it’s especially pleasing to see players progressing through our academy structures to senior rugby." “Garrick had a very good U21 season and I believe he is ready to make the step up, while Sintu is a versatile and explosive player and I believe he can make an impact for us next year." “Yaw might still be young, but I’m very excited about his prospects. Other youngsters have proven in the past that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough, and I believe he can follow in their footsteps,” Davids said. The players signed earlier are : Ruaan Lerm, Chrysander Botha, Cameron Lindsay, Johann Tromp, Sampie Mastriet, Waylon Murray, Berton Klaasen, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Ricky Schroeder, Schalk Ferreira, Justin Forwood, Mike Willemse, Martin Bezuidenhout, Louis Fouche, Thembelani Bholi, James Hall, Malcolm Jaer, Tyler Paul, CJ Velleman and Siyanda Grey.