The Southern Kings will play friendly matches against all five of the South African Super Rugby teams in 2011 as well as top English club Saracens as SARU prepare the team for their Super Rugby entry in 2013.
The Southern Kings are South Africa's Super Rugby team in waiting after they lost in the bid to be named the fifteenth Super Rugby team with the expansion of the Super 14 to a Super 15.
The franchise is made up of Border, the Eastern Province Kings and South Western Districts and they will play pre-season matches against the Bulls (January 29), Cheetahs (February 5) and Lions (February 11) and meet the Sharks and Stormers later in the year with the match costs being borne by SARU.
Aviva Premiership club Saracens which is half South African owned will play Saracens in Port Elizabeth in February and Qatar in June.
"An incredible amount of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to get the Southern Kings to this point," SARU president Oregan Hoskins told Sport 24.
"SARU has managed to source sponsors and fixtures for the franchise, we have now managed to forge a draft agreement between the three unions and a business plan is in place to be signed off shortly.
"The last great hurdle is to secure a formal place in the Super Rugby competition but we are addressing that issue internally and will deliver a road map sooner rather than later."
"SARU is fully committed to the Eastern Cape rugby cause and has shown its commitment through tangible investment on all levels," said Hoskins.
"SARU believes that these steps will take Eastern Cape Rugby to the next level."
South African Rugby bosses were not happy with missing out on the 15th franchise even though it would have not made sense geographically as the Super15 format has each countries' teams grouped in three pools of five teams who are based in each participating country.
SARU will attempt to get SANZAR to agree to another expansion of the Super Rugby series to a Super 16 with the South African pool containing six teams instead of five teams and for that pool to start a few weeks before the rest of the tournament.
Should SARU not be able to convince SANZAR to expand again then SARU say that having resolved that the Southern Kings franchise would be included in Super Rugby from 2013 they would have to look at other options which include promotion and relegation and a tendering system.
SARU say that they have received SANZAR's confirmation that it would use its best endeavours to accommodate a sixth South African franchise in Super Rugby from 2013 but they have not yet agreed to expand the tournament so the Southern Kings will most likely be included in Super Rugby at the expense of another South African team even though their Currie Cup team was not able to win promotion to the Premier Division of the Currie Cup.