The Bulls have reportedly made the most of the current uncertainty at the Eastern Province Kings by signing front-row Lizo Gqoboka to bolster their Super Rugby squad.
According to Supersport.com, Gqoboka gave notice at the Kings after repeated non-payment of players salaries at the Port Elizabeth-based franchise.
The Bulls subsequently made him an offer to ply his trade with them for the foreseeable future.
Supersport also reports that the Bulls are also trying to sign three other Kings players – loose forwards Tim Agaba and Thembelani Bholi and winger Luther Obi.
Bulls high performance Manager Xander Janse van Rensburg confirmed that Gqoboka has joined the Pretoria-based outfit but wouldn’t comment on other negotiations.
However, sources close to the Kings have confirmed that Agaba, Bholi and Obi are negotiating with the Bulls, and may sign on Friday.
EP Kings players are yet to receive their October salaries and a ten-day deadline imposed by the South African Rugby Players Association expired on Tuesday, allowing players to legally break their contracts.
The Kings released a statement on Wednesday confirming that Gqoboka and centre Tim Whitehead had asked to be released but denied that any other players would be leaving.
"We are aware that SARPA have advised players that EP Rugby is in breach of contract, due to the non-payment of salaries by the 10th of November, and have advised that players can therefore terminate their contracts," read the statement.
“They have also advised those who do not have alternative employment offers that they are not obligated to return to training on Monday next week.
“We have noted with concern that a lot of speculation has taken place over players that are leaving, with a number of names bandied about.
“EP Rugby can confirm that Tim Whitehead and Lizo Gqoboka are the only two players, to date, that have given notice of their intent to leave the Kings.”
The Kings added that the lack of funds was due to a sponsorship agreement that hasn't been finalised.
“These cash flow problems can be attributed to significant delays in the release of funds from a sponsorship deal that was originally announced by EP Rugby President Cheeky Watson.
“As stated previously, Mr Watson is currently in Australia to meet with sponsors to try and expedite the release of these funds.
“The executive is extremely aware of the challenges that late payment creates, as we all have bills to pay and debit orders that come off our accounts at a certain time each month.
"We are also keeping SA Rugby informed of the situation as it unfolds and are engaging with them and our other stakeholders.”'