Several reasons why new Shark Koch is wary of Edinburgh

rugby26 March 2024 12:00
By:Gavin Rich
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Vincent Koch © Gallo Images

Springbok tighthead prop Vincent Koch was never coached by Sean Everitt as he only signed for the Hollywoodbets Sharks last July, more than half a year after Everitt was shown the door by the franchise he had been part of for the best part of two decades.

However, Koch has moved between enough clubs and provinces to know the extra motivation that comes with coming up against an entity you have either played with before or coached before. And he also knows that the Edinburgh players will be angry with themselves after losing so comprehensively to the DHL Stormers last week.

So Koch would be surprised if there wasn’t an extra edge to Saturday’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash in Durban and one thing he is certain of is that the Scots will mount a different challenge to the one they posed the Stormers in their 43-21 defeat in Cape Town.

“I can’t speak about Sean and his exit from the Sharks as I wasn’t part of the team when he coached here but I can imagine what it will be like for him returning to coach against his old team,” said Koch, who made his debut for the Sharks when he came off the bench in last week’s morale-boosting win over Ulster at Hollywoodbets Kingws Park.

“I have been part of clubs before that I have left and then ended up playing against them, and there is always extra motivation in those situations. You want to prove a point and in Sean’s case I am sure he will want to prove a point and psyche his players up. He wants the result as well so I think the Edinburgh players can expect a nice pre-game chat from their coach.

“But we haven’t spoken about their coach, our conversation has been more about the team they will field against us. For us it is not us against Sean Everitt, what he brings to them as a coach is just part of their thing. We must just be sure about what we are up against this weekend.”


And what the Sharks will be up against is a team that is expected to be bolstered by the return of several Scotland internationals who took the week off last week to recover from their gruelling Guinness Six Nations campaign.

“They rested most of their Scottish players so it will be a different team to the one that played against the Stormers,” said the double World Cup winning Bok front row forward.

“We’ve analysed the players coming back to figure out what they will bring, but first we have looked at ourselves, looked at where we can get better after last week’s good win over Ulster. We need to be at our best over 80 minutes to win. It will be a tough game, particularly after they were beaten by the Stormers like they were. They will be angry and eager to rectify it, and there will be extra motivation too with Sean being their coach.”

Koch said it was a different feeling for the Sharks players to be sitting on Monday at the start of the buildup week to the Edinburgh game as winners rather than having to front up after a defeat as had been the case for most fo the season.

“Winning does bring a different vibe and it was a nice feeling to start the week on Monday as a winner,” said Koch.

“There is still a lot we need to fix, but we ticked the first box for the rest of the season against Ulster. We play the game and the scoreboard does matter. To win is two steps forward, a sign that we have successfully brought into the plan… We always need to look at ourselves and ask ourselves questions. Are we good enough, are we hard enough, and are we hard enough on ourselves and each other. Is a mistake just fine and we move on or do we rectify it?

“There can’t be a lack of effort. Among our goals for the next few weeks is to show a dominant picture (as a pack) to teams and referees. We want to win, everyone enjoys winning. We have a few home games now and we want to make it as difficult as possible for visiting teams and we want to use the URC games as a buildup to the Challenge Cup.”


Koch said it was an unbelievable feeling for him to finally get to wear the Sharks jersey for the first time last weekend, and the win over Ulster made it even sweeter.

“My injury took longer than expected to heal, I was on the sidelines for 18 weeks and working hard at the club on my rehab for 16 weeks. The medical staff were very supportive and were patient and didn’t pressure me. They allowed my knee to normalise before I returned to the playing field.

“The fact it was a home game made the experience of making my debut very special, and to do it with my friends and teammates added to the specialness of the experience. But it wasn’t just about me but for my teammates, coaches and our supporters.”

The good turnouts of the Durban faithful to watch a team that has been struggling is something that Koch says provides extra motivation for the players.

“We want to make a point to ourselves, we know we have lots of talent and we want to show what we can do. Speaking for the forwards, the goal is to be dominant, to be tough guys and show that. We want to show that to the people outside.

“It is about more than just that, it is about the badge on our chest, we want to make the supporters proud, we want to show the Sharks is a good brand. It is nice to know that even though we haven’t been as good as we can be nice crowds still turn out to watch us. We know we can change that and hopefully the win over Ulster as a first glimpse of where we are going.”