The Western Force have added seven more South African players to their list after being granted concessions by the ARU to recruit more overseas players.

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

For much of their eight-year history, the Western Force have been guilty of repeating past mistakes.

They developed a knack of splashing the cash on their recruiting drives, ending up with highly-paid stars in a team that could never quite gel consistently.

The likes of Matt Giteau, James O’Connor, Drew Mitchell, Cameron Shepherd, Digby Ioane and Ryan Cross all came and went, but a finals berth never arrived.

Star signings have been in short supply in recent years at the Force.

The arrival of the Melbourne Rebels in 2011 – and the subsequent squeeze it put on the already-thin Australian rugby marketplace – meant the Force were still forking out big dollars, but getting only average interstate players in return.

Not any more.

After spending the past three seasons languishing near the foot of the table, the Force were granted permission to sign an extra international marquee and five more overseas development players – up from one marquee and two development players.

The Perth-based franchise has been on a shopping spree since, scouring the fertile breeding ground of South African rugby for new talent.

Marcel Brache, Chris Heiberg, Brynard Stander and Wilhelm Steenkamp were all added to the main squad, while Dillyn Leyds, Dylan Sage and Francois van Wyk arrived as part of the wider squad.

Former Bulls, Sharks and Cheetahs lock Steenkamp is a big-name signing. The other South Africans are virtual unknowns in Australian rugby circles.

Force assistants David Wessels and Kevin Foote, who worked together at the University of Cape Town, were responsible for identifying the appropriate talent.

Head coach Michael Foley is confident his two assistants have unearthed a few diamonds in the rough that will flourish in the Force set-up.

“If you look at what’s happened in the last few years in Australian rugby, there would be a number of players being paid more than they should be getting paid,” Foley says.

“We felt the surplus of talent in South Africa would provide us with the opportunity of signing talent at the equivalent level to other Australian talent at a much better price.

“We’ve looked to identify local talent as well, with the inclusion of Ryan Louwrens, Luke Burton, Zack Holmes and Dane Haylett-Petty.”

The Force also added former Reds winger-fullback Luke Morahan to their roster, while ex-Brumbies playmaker Holmes will have the chance to flourish at flyhalf.

Rampaging lock Hugh McMeniman will miss the start of the season after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction, but the 30-year-old should be back in action by early March.

The Force managed just four wins and a draw from 16 games last season.

But they performed better than their record suggested, regularly challenging the competition’s heavyweights and even recording wins against the Queensland Reds, Crusaders and Brumbies.

Their knack of losing games they should have won was a constant frustration, but Foley is confident they learned some major lessons from those failings.

Last year was the “relaunch” of the Force under Foley.

Although a finals appearances may still be beyond the Force this season, they have a squad capable of causing some major upsets along the way.