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VIDEO: Franna said 'no ways' on Koch's 50th

VIDEO: World Cup-winning prop Vincent Koch almost reached his 50th cap for the Springboks against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday from the bench – was it not for a thoughtful gesture of his teammate Frans Malherbe.

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Koch will earn his 50th Test cap when the Springboks take on Wales in their first international since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in France last October.

The 34-year-old Koch has built a reputation as one of the best tightheads.

Domestically he made a name for himself with the Bulls, Pumas, Stormers and the Sharks.

He also boasts elaborate overseas experience, having represented Saracens in 110 games over six seasons.

Koch made his Test debut for South Africa against the All Blacks in Johannesburg in July 2015.

@rugby365com  asked Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus during the team announcement in Pretoria on Tuesday what it means to the team when a player reaches his 50th international cap.

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His answer revealed that Koch was not initially included in the first XV to start against Wales.

The Bok management had initially opted for Frans Malherbe to don the No.3 jersey.

(Article continues below Rassie Erasmus interview …)

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“It’s funny,” Erasmus said, adding: “We’ve made a mistake twice before.

“We picked Lood de Jager and someone whispered in my ear the Thursday before the game it was Franco Mostert’s 50th game.

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“It was so nice.

“I thought” ‘My goodness, he is going to play off the bench’.

“I went to Lood and said: ‘I made a mistake, I think Franco should start, it’s his 50th game’.

“Lood said he didn’t mind.

“However, I thought I’d let Lood start anyway.

“When we got to the huddle, Lood said he wanted to say something.

“He told the players it was Franco’s 50th game and he wanted Franco to start and he will play off the bench.

“So Lood just announced it,” Erasmus revealed with a smile.

This week it happened again, this time with Koch and Malherbe.

“We announced the team with Frans at tighthead.

“Five minutes later one of the players came to me and said it was Vincent’s 50th game.

“When Franna heard that, he said: ‘No ways’.

“A guy that works so hard and got so few chances to start and it is in your hands, the two players are so similar.

“He also plays with guys that he knows.

“He and Malcolm [Marx] normally go on together.

“So it is now a combination, but it wouldn’t have been a combination if it wasn’t for his 50th.

“That is how much it means to the players.

“We don’t want a player to come off the bench when it is his 50th game.

“Especially when there is very little to choose between him and Frans.”

In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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