Winning brings a ‘different vibe’ for Vincent Koch and Sharks

“We’ve analysed the (Edinburgh) players coming back, but first we have looked at ourselves,” the Sharks’ Springbok prop Vincent Koch said. Photo: BackpagePix

“We’ve analysed the (Edinburgh) players coming back, but first we have looked at ourselves,” the Sharks’ Springbok prop Vincent Koch said. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Mar 27, 2024


If ever there was a wily old campaigner, it is Vincent Koch – and when he says there will be needle from Edinburgh in Saturday’s match at the Shark Tank, he knows what he is talking about.

The 34-year-old tighthead prop has been around a block that includes stints at the Bulls, Pumas, Stormers, Saracens, Wasps and Stade Francais, not to mention the Springboks (48 caps), so there is little that he has not seen.

Last week, he was a lucky charm for the Sharks when they beat Ulster on his debut for the Durban team.

But this week, he expects Edinburgh to be a tougher challenge in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship clash at Kings Park (3pm kick-off) because it is their coach’s return to his former stomping ground, and because the Scots will be boosted by a host of Scotland internationals.

“I can’t speak about Sean (Everitt) and his exit from the Sharks as I wasn’t there, but I can imagine what it will be like for him returning to coach against his old team,” Koch said yesterday.

“I have been part of clubs before that I have left and then ended up playing against them, and there is always extra motivation in those situations.

“You want to prove a point, and in Sean’s case, I am sure he will want to psyche his players up. He wants the result, so the Edinburgh players can expect a nice pre-game chat from their coach.”

But Koch said that is Edinburgh’s business, and the Sharks are focused on other matters.

“Our conversation has been more about the team they will field against us. It is not us against Sean Everitt … what he brings to them as a coach is just part of their thing. We must be sure about what we are up against this weekend.”

And that is several players who played against Koch and the Springboks in the World Cup pool game against Scotland.

Everitt had to rest Six Nations stars such as Duhan van Der Merwe against the Stormers, but can pick them this week.

“We’ve analysed the players coming back to figure out what they will bring, but first we have looked at ourselves, where we can get better after last week’s good win over Ulster,” Koch said.

“We need to be at our best over 80 minutes to win. It will be tough after the Stormers beat them as they did (43-21). They will be angry and eager to rectify it, and there will be extra motivation too, with Sean being their coach.”

Koch said the win has given the Sharks something to work with after too many Mondays have been spent working out what went wrong.

“Winning does bring a different vibe, and it was a nice feeling to start the week on Monday as a winner,” he said.

“We still need to fix a lot, but we ticked the first box for the rest of the season by winning. We play the game, and the scoreboard does matter. To win is two steps forward, a sign that we have successfully bought into the plan.

“We always need to look at ourselves and ask questions. Are we good enough, hard enough, and hard enough on ourselves and each other? Is a mistake just fine and we move on, or do we rectify it?

“Most importantly, there can’t be a lack of effort. Among our goals for the next few games is to show a dominant picture to teams and referees. We want to win … everyone enjoys winning.

“We have a few home games now and we want to make it as difficult as possible for visiting teams, and we want to use the URC games as a build-up to the Challenge Cup (play-offs).”