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Koch Sets Sight On Irish Mouthwatering Test Series

  • June 23, 2024
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Koch Sets Sight On Irish Mouthwatering Test Series

Springbok prop Vincent Koch acknowledges that their victory over Wales wasn’t flawless, but it offered promising signs ahead of the crucial series against Ireland next month.

The Boks, shaking off the rust of their break, overpowered a young and inexperienced Welsh side at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, securing the Qatar Airways Cup with a 41-13 victory.

They showcased their attacking prowess with five tries – one each from Jesse Kriel and Makazole Mapimpi, a penalty try, a powerful rolling maul try from Koch’s Sharks teammate Bongi Mbonambi, and a debut try from Edwill van der Merwe. This dominant performance shut out Wales in the second half, leaving coach Warren Gatland scoreless.

Up next for the Boks is a highly anticipated two-test series against Ireland in July. The Irish, who defeated the Boks in the 2023 World Cup pool stages, are considered rivals by some in the Irish media, who believe they were capable of winning the tournament themselves (stopped by New Zealand in the quarterfinals). The Boks ultimately triumphed over the All Blacks in the final. The first test against Ireland will take place on 6 July in Pretoria, followed by a second test a week later in Durban.

“It wasn’t perfect on Saturday,” Koch admitted. “But we saw glimpses of good things to come. The young players really impressed, which is a great sign for South African rugby. Now we’re fully focused on the Irish tests.”

The 34-year-old Koch, who joined the Sharks at the beginning of the past season, celebrated his 50th cap for the Boks against Wales. The Empangeni-born prop made his debut against New Zealand on 25 July 2015, although the All Blacks emerged victorious 27-20 at Ellis Park Stadium.

“Of course, it was a very special day,” Koch said of reaching his 50th cap. “These opportunities are rare, and the boys showed incredible character and effort to win the game. I’m incredibly proud.”

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