Apr 04, 2014
De Kock set to make 200th appearance
Neil de Kock will make his 200th appearance for the club this Saturday, if the experienced South African international half-back takes to the field away to Ulster.
Since making the first of his 199 appearances for the club against in September 2006 against London Irish in the EDF Energy Cup, De Kock has been a fixture of the side, and will be joining the likes of Kris Chesney, Richard Hill and Kevin Sorrell in making 200 appearances for the club in the professional era.
"I definitely didn’t think when I made my debut for the club that I’d be here preparing for my 200th game" said the Springbok half-back.
"I think I’m very fortunate to have played that many games for such a great club. When I first came over it was on a two year contract and being the young and naïve guy I was back then I thought I’d play two years over here then just head back to South Africa and finish my career there".
De Kock has seen many changes at the club that he has called home for eight seasons, and he believes the club has gone "from strength to strength" in recent years.
"The shift of mentality at the club is probably the biggest change I have witnessed" revealed the 35-year-old.
"I think we now have a clear identity after these last four or five years and I think everyone buys into it. We talk about our values at the club, and we live by them both on and off the pitch.
"Once we had created that identity, we had the belief that we could go out week-in-week-out to perform. We don’t pick and choose games, we have that mentality and that culture now. On the back of that, it is a huge draw card for players to join the club, we have had a host of great players come into the squad and hopefully the club will continue to go from strength to strength and keep on challenging for silverware".
Despite reaching the milestone for the club, De Kock is keen to stress that there is more to come, revealing that he still has that "burning desire" to contribute to the club.
"I’m still thoroughly enjoying my rugby. I plan to play another season, I've been very blessed and very fortunate that my body is still going and that I feel good. The biggest thing for me is that I still have a burning desire to play, I want to contribute and give as much back to Saracens as I can, as Saracens have given me so much".
He added: "I love this club and that’s why I’m still here".