The South African Rugby Union will keep the cap on foreign players in Super Rugby to two per team, rejecting a request by tournament newcomers the Southern Kings to allow them more in their first season.
SARU said on Friday that "the status quo remained" regarding overseas players in franchise squads following a meeting in Johannesburg.
The Kings hoped to hire more foreigners to help after being promoted for the 2013 season.
The Port Elizabeth-based Kings said this week they had signed New Zealander Hadleigh Parkes and Argentina and Toulouse scrumhalf Nicolas Vergallo, although there was doubt over Vergallo's move from France.
The Kings reportedly were hoping to sign as many as six foreigners for next year, when they will replace Johannesburg's Lions who were relegated by SARU.