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Springbok prop's new team revealed

NEWS: Springbok prop Vincent Koch and one-time England prospect Paolo Odogwu have found a new club ten days after they were among the 167 players and staff made redundant after Wasps fell into administration.


The South African tighthead had been strongly linked with a move to Stade Francais after he was spotted at their ground last Saturday for a Top 14 match. However, the signing of Odogwu by the Parisians hadn’t been anticipated.

Both medical joker signings were confirmed on Thursday by Stade Francais, who have Paul Gustard, the former Harlequins boss, on their books as defence coach. Fijian Peniasi Dakuwaqa was also signed as a medical joker replacement for Telusa Veainu, the former Leicester player.

Posts on Twitter by Stade Francais read: “The tighthead, a world champion in 2019, joins us as Paul Alo-Emile’s medical joker. Welcome, Vincent Koch.

“Wasps’ centre/winger joins us as Sefa Naivalu’s medical joker. Welcome, Paolo Odogwu. The whole club has a thought for the staff, the players and all the supporters of Wasps.”

Koch has joined Stade Francais without playing a single match for Wasps, the club he signed for last December after six years at Saracens were ended by him being squeezed out by the Premiership’s reduced salary cap.


The South African was on international duty until September 24 before flying back into England for the 2022/23 season and his first week at Wasps ended in illness, which forced him to miss their game versus Northampton.

That was the last match that Wasps got to play before they were suspended by the RFU, leaving Koch in limbo and he became erroneously linked earlier this week with a switch to Sale.

“He was picking up a watch from DMR [jewellers David M Robinson] from Altrincham, who are one of our shirt sponsors, so we thought it would be good to have a cup of tea with him,” explained Sale boss Alex Sanderson.

“He is good mates with the du Preezs and Jono Ross and that is about the lot of it. Honestly, that’s it. It was just catching up with an old friend – which he is – and he was catching up with some old friends here.


“I think you will probably find down the line he will go for vast amounts of money to a club that can pay him. Vast amounts of money. I doubt it very, very much that he will come to Sale Sharks. Unfortunately, we can’t afford him.”

Odogwu, meanwhile, had vaulted into the England squad for the 2021 Six Nations but he went uncapped despite spending the entire campaign with them. He has since reportedly been considering whether to change allegiance and declare for Italy, for whom he is also eligible, ahead of the 2023 World Cup.


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