Making His Mark

Hollywoodbets Sharks and Rugby World Cup winning Springbok Vincent Koch’s debut in the Black & White jersey was a much-awaited one, but well worth it as he showed his prowess in contributing to his team’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship win over Ulster at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on Saturday.

“It was an unbelievable experience and something I’d been waiting a long time for, especially after the injury which took a bit longer to heal than expected,” he explains of his debut.

“But the medical staff and coaches were all very supportive and there was no pressure on me to come back, but to allow my knee to get back to normal.

“Wearing the jersey was a massive honour, especially as it was a home game, an unbelievable experience and I never take playing for my team for granted and it was really special to do it with my friends and team mates.

“Getting the win was even more special, not because it was my debut but for the team, the coaches and the supporters as well.”

The victory was all the more pleasing given the frustrations the team has faced, most notably around not having a full squad to select from and having to make personnel changes almost every game.

“We’ve been trying new things, we’ve been unlucky at times, but we are building towards something special.

“The spirit in the team is really good, the boys never back down, they never question the way we play and they always keep their heads up. That shows me that the team is getting closer.  Getting a win definitely brings a different vibe to the group, especially coming in on Monday and sitting in a team meeting with a good vibe.

“Yes there are things we still need to work on, we have a few goals ahead of us but we’ve ticked the first box which was the game against Ulster.

“Winning needs a few steps to achieve that and we all bought into the plan the coaches gave us. We also had to look at ourselves, and ask ‘are we good enough at what we do and are we hard enough on ourselves?

“We went into this game determined not to hold back, we knew we couldn’t and there couldn’t be a lack of effort. We looked at ourselves as players for that game and for the next few weeks, we want to show dominance.

“We want to win, we enjoy winning.

“We have a few home games ahead of us and we want to make it as difficult as possible for the visiting teams. And use these games to build ourselves up for the EPCR knock-out games.”

Head coach John Plumtree spoke about the rare opportunity he finally had to select a near full-strength side for the Ulster game and for now, being able to maintain some continuity can only benefit this Hollywoodbets Sharks side.

“Coach Plum said it previously that he had a few challenges in certain positions but with a full strength side, we can push each other and create good competition in the group.

“We’re all fit now and that will help to build momentum, there are some unbelievably talented, hard-working players in the squad.

“If we can get the cohesion right and build some momentum, things will definitely look different come the end of the season.”