From golfing dreams to favourite games, find out more about the front-rower
Who is Vincent Koch: Ten things you should know about the Springboks prop
Vincent Koch has been described as the best tighthead in the world by some of his Saracens team-mates but has often had to settle for a place on the South Africa bench.
Here’s an insight into the Springboks front-rower.
Ten things you should know about Vincent Koch
1. Born in Empangeni, in Kwa-Zulu-Natal, on 13 March 1990, Vincent Koch attended Huguenot High School in the Western Cape between 2004 and 2008.
2. The prop played for the University of Pretoria, which also helped produce Victor Matfield, Naas Botha and Joost van der Westhuizen, before representing Blue Bulls, Pumas in the Currie Cup and the Stormers.
In 2016 he played for South Africa A in their home series against the England Saxons.
3. Koch made his Test debut for South Africa at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, against New Zealand in the Rugby Championship in July 2015.
4. In the summer of 2016, Koch joined Saracens in the English Premiership.
Before the side were relegated following the salary cap scandal in 2020, he helped Saracens win two European Champions Cups and two domestic league titles.
He was also a mainstay of Saracens’ promotion from the Championship in 2021 and made his 100th appearance for the club in the second leg of the play-off final against Ealing in June 2021.
5. Koch rated the Premiership final win over Exeter in 2019, a 37-34 scrap, and the Champions Cup final against Leinster, a 20-10 win at St James’ Park the same year, as his top two games of his first 100 in a Saracens jersey.
6. Koch is a golfing Springbok prop, claiming a handicap of “nine or 10”.
Asked what his dream four-ball would be he said: “Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson. I’d crash it and make it a five-ball.”
7. The move to England may have scuppered Koch’s international career and he did not play a Test between November 2016 and October 2018.
The abolition of the 30-cap rule, where South African players based overseas had to have 30 or more Test caps to play for the Springboks, made him eligible again and Rassie Erasmus brought him back in.
8. Koch was a winner of the inaugural Tbilisi Cup when he was part of a South African President’s XV that beat Uruguay, Emerging Ireland and hosts Georgia in 2013.
Renaldo Bothma, the South Africa-born Namibia back-row who spent time at Harlequins, was also in the squad.
9. At the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan Koch was part of South Africa’s ‘Bomb Squad’ – the bench players who came on to finish matches off. In the tournament he was a replacement in all three of the knockout games as the Boks triumphed.
Head coach Rassie Erasmus said: “They either come in and fix it when it is not going well on the park or it is a false alarm and maybe they don’t even get onto the park.”
10. In June 2021, Koch tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of South Africa’s first Test match against Georgia, which was a warm-up for the British & Irish Lions 2021 series.
He missed the Georgia match, the Boks’ first Test since the RWC 2019 final, but he was fit to return to international action as part of the South Africa A team to take on the Lions two weeks later.
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