Bok tighthead Vincent Koch is excited about a potential scrum battle against Saracens teammate Mako Vunipola during Saturday’s World Cup final.
The former Stormers prop, who joined the English Premiership side in 2016, has been prominent off the bench throughout the Boks’ campaign, after coming into the side for the injured Trevor Nyakane.
Koch says the move to Saracens was definitely a tough decision but he credits the transition to the English champions as one that has ultimately made him a better player.
‘Moving to Saracens was quite a big decision for me, leaving South Africa,’ said Koch. ‘As a player, I’ve learned quite a lot. They’ve worked on me to try to make me the perfect player.
‘Over the last three years, they’ve made me work harder and mentally prepared me for big games. Definitely, moving abroad made me a better all-round player.’
The Bok prop sees parallels between Saturday’s opponents and his club side, which have several players forming the core of the England team.
‘There are quite a lot of Saracens in their team, and as we looked at them, we can see a lot of similarities,’ continued Koch. ‘We know what they are going to bring, and if it’s the “Sarries” way or England way, we need to match that.’
Koch admitted to having not chatted to his Saracens teammates recently, but added that he is excited to face them and contribute to another strong impact from the Boks’ ‘bomb squad’.
‘With Mako [Vunipola], playing with him [at Saracens], I’ve scrummaged quite a lot against him in training,’ said Koch. ‘This is a bit different, as it’s not on a training field, but in quite a big Test, and the same with Joe Marler. I’ve scrummaged against him in the [English] Premiership. I know exactly what they do, or I’ve felt what they have done in the past.
‘We are quite excited about that, and we just want to bring energy. That’s what we have been doing the whole time. Repeat what the starters do and take it to 80 minutes the whole time.’
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) October 30, 2019