VIDEO: Boks already 'switched on' for quarterfinals
Vincent Philip Koch has been waiting four years for a rare Springbok start, so a day or two to know if his World Cup campaign is going to be extended to the quarterfinals is not a problem.
Koch, who pulled out of the Springbok’s second game of the World Cup against Romania in Bordeaux last month, said the South African squad is preparing as if they are playing in a quarterfinal.
Saturday’s late game between world No.1 Ireland and Six Nations rivals Scotland at Stade de France in Paris, will determine the Boks’ fate.
Koch, who suffered a knee injury and pulled up lame in the pre-match warm-up ahead of last month’s Romania game, said the injury was “bitterly disappointing”.
He had waited four years to get a Bok start – his last Test start having been the 66-7 World Cup win over Canada in October 2019.
In 28 subsequent Test he played off the bench, before pulling up lame at Stade Bordeaux.
That long-awaited Test start eventually came in the 49-18 win over Tonga at Stade Vélodrome, in Marseilles, last Sunday.
The players took a couple of days off after the Tongan game and this past Wednesday started preparations for a potential quarterfinal – despite not knowing who they will play or if they will play at all.
Koch said they have been training, regardless of who their quarterfinal opposition will be.
(WATCH as seasoned prop Vincent Kockh explained how the Springboks kept themselves busy this week, despite not knowing if they will remain in the tournament beyond Saturday…)
“We are training as if we are going to play in a quarterfinal,” Koch said.
“We did everything we possibly could to be in a position to play in the quarterfinal.
“Whatever happens in that [Ireland versus Scotland] game is out of our hands.
“Regardless of that, preparing for the match was our main focus.”
He added that they are still focused on winning the World Cup.
“It is not that difficult to switch on,” he told @rugby365com.
“We are preparing as if we are going to play and the boys all bought into the way we are going to do things.
“We zoomed into our game this past week and the coaches came up with plans on where we can improve so that we are at the level we need to be for the quarterfinal and to be in a position to play our best rugby, and the players bought into it, so it was a good training week.”
*Picture credit: @rugbyworldcup