Apr 22, 2017
Close-knit Saracens ready for any challenge - Koch
Vincent Koch produced a masterful performance from tighthead prop in Saracens’ 26-10 Champions Cup semi-final win over Munster in Dublin on Saturday.
The Springbok international, who was playing in only his 12th game for the Club since his summer move from Super Rugby side Stormers, was named Man of the Match in Saracens’ heroic win over the Irish Province at the Aviva Stadium.
The 27-year old was a colossus at the set-piece causing his opposite prop, Munster’s Dave Kilcoyne to endure a torrid time at the scrum forcing the Munster man into conceding a glut of penalties. In the loose, Koch was a committed and effective in defence making 13 tackles (not missing one) and was an overall shining light for his side during his 71-minute stint on the field.
Speaking after the game, Koch said: “I enjoyed it (the set-piece battle). As a prop, it’s always great to play on the front-foot and win some penalties. I must say well-done to our opponents Munster, as that was a really tough game, but we really stuck in there and we came away with a nice win. Munster are a very good team, and they came out blazing in the first-half but we knew that we had to just stick to our structures. In the second-half we started to do what we wanted to do.”
Koch’s recent rich vein of form in Saracens number three jersey has come at an opportune time for Mark McCall’s side after Juan Figallo was ruled out for the rest of the season with a foot injury sustained in Saracens’ quarter-final win over Glasgow Warriors earlier this month. A likable and popular squad member Koch picked up the Man of the Match award but he was quick to praise the Saracens ethos after his personal triumph rather than bask in the glow of the individual platitudes that headed his way after the match.
“Saracens is a family,” Koch explained. “The boys here play for each other - were not a bunch of individuals who play for themselves - we’re very much a team and I think that pulled us through today. I’m really humbled to play alongside a great group of friends. We’re like brothers, and it doesn’t matter where we play, or who we play, when you go out as 15 guys on the field from Saracens it makes it that much easier.
He added: “To pull through and get to the final, it’s an amazing feeling. To play alongside this group is real honour for me.”