Koch: Boks need Euro experience
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: South Africa’s decision to scrap the 30-Test cap policy has played a vital role in the team’s recent success.
Players like Sales Sharks’ Faf De Klerk, former Toulon No8 Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw (Bath), Willie le Roux (Wasps) and Vincent Koch (Saracens) were recalled to the Springbok squad following the lifting of the rule.
One player who truly showed his importance in the Springbok set-up was former Lions scrumhalf De Klerk. The Sale Sharks No.9 made a remarkable comeback helping South Africa take last year’s series against England and was on the shortlist for World Rugby Player of the Year.
And it seems like Saracens prop Vincent Koch is backing Rassie Erasmus to mastermind yet another successful 2019 season based on key overseas-based players.
Koch, who ended a two-year exile by playing against New Zealand in Pretoria last October, admitted that he feared he will miss the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
But, in an interview with Rugbypass, Koch revealed that he now believes that there is a spot for him, especially with Erasmus’ putting a huge amount of faith in the players abroad.
“I always had doubts if I would ever play test rugby again for the Springboks and thanks to a coaching change I have been able to play,” Koch told rugbypass.
“Rassie [Erasmus] wants the best for South African rugby and guys from Europe who joined the Springbok set up did put their hands up like Le Roux and De Klerk.
“Maybe the Springboks needed guys to come from the outside and share their feelings and experiences from Europe and elsewhere.
“For me, it was amazing to be part of the squad and hopefully we can all make the World Cup squad. Things are looking good and all of the squad are working hard to get the Springboks to where they were,”
“[Erasmus] has played a massive role in the whole change with the Springboks set up. What he brings is unreal. He has a calmness – the players never feel under undue pressure and the guys can feel the change which creates a healthy environment for them to enjoy their rugby again. Of course, there is pressure because it’s international rugby but it is easier than in the past,” he added
The former Stormers tighthead prop, who signed a new deal at Saracens until 2020, admits that World Cup might be on his mind but for now, but his focus is on performing at his best in the Champions Cup and Premiership.
“The World Cup is always at the back of my mind, but I need to perform for Sarries in Europe and the Premiership.
“For now, it is about playing well for Sarries and if I do that then it will help me be part of the Springbok World Cup squad,”
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