Thembelani Bholi will complete the Super Rugby season with the Bulls before moving to the Southern Kings in July. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

PORT ELIZABETH – The Southern Kings have bagged one of their biggest signings in prominent Eastern Cape-born loose forward Thembelani Bholi, who will be returning home after signing with the PRO14 side.

The 29-year-old, who hails from Mooiplaas near East London, has signed a three-year deal which will see him return to his former team from the Bulls, where he has spent the past two years since departing from Port Elizabeth.

Bholi has been a prominent feature in the Bulls team in the past two seasons, and will look to make an immediate impact when he returns to represent his home team in the PRO14 2019/20 season. He will join the side in July.

Also joining the Southern Kings is talented centre Howard Mnisi, who has signed with the side for next season.

The former Lions star will be no stranger to Port Elizabeth, having turned out for Nelson Mandela University’s Madibaz team in the Varsity Cup in 2012 and 2013, and was named in the 2013 SA Universities squad alongside Southern Kings teammate Schalk Oelofse.

In addition to the previously announced signings of Jerry Sexton (lock) and Courtney Winnaar (fullback/flyhalf), the Southern Kings have also recruited Andell Loubser (fullback), Cameron Dawson (loosehead prop), Christian Ambadiang (wing), Erich Cronje (centre), Gavin Mills (scrumhalf), Ig Prinsloo (tighthead prop), Josh Alderman (scrumhalf), Lusanda Badiyana (loose forward) and Siya Masuku (flyhalf).

Fullback Masixole Banda is among the latest players to recommit with contract extensions with the Southern Kings.

The Port Elizabeth-born former Ithembelihle High School pupil was among the PRO14 top points-scorers this season, and established himself as one of the most elusive and dangerous runners with ball-in-hand.

Hard-working loose forward Bobby de Wee, whose 2018/19 campaign was cut short by a shoulder injury, has also extended his stay in Port Elizabeth by re-signing until 2022 with the Southern Kings.

Other players to have chosen to stay at the Kings are Alandre van Rooyen (hooker), CJ Velleman (loose forward), Pieter Scholtz (tighthead prop), Ruaan Lerm (loose forward), Sibusiso Sithole (centre), Tango Balekile (hooker), Tienie Burger (loose forward) Yaw Penxe (wing).

African News Agency (ANA)