The Offload chats to... Vincent Koch
August 24, 2017
He was called the ‘Signing of the 2016/17 Premiership Season’, but Vincent Koch will be the first to play that down, putting his instant success in England down to the players and coaching staff around him at Saracens.
We caught up with the humble South African prop to talk about the off-season, the highs and lows of the last campaign, and what’s in-store for the months ahead…
Firstly, did you have a good off-season?
I had a great off-season! I did things a little different this year by not doing too much training for the first few weeks. Reason being that I got married then went to Seychelles on my honeymoon.
Saracens had a pre-season training camp in Bermuda. Was it tough?
Yes! The conditions were completely different to the UK. The weather made it extremely tough to train and play in, but all-in-all the trip was successful for both the boys and the team.
We’ve all seen Mako’s front flip attempt. What score would you give it out of 10?
I’d give it a 0 for execution, but a 10 for entertainment!
Last season was your first for Saracens. Did you enjoy playing in the Premiership?
Absolutely – I was fortunate enough to play with a great group of guys and be coached by world class coaches.
“…at Saracens, you always strive to become better and work harder.”
After a big 2016/17, some pundits were calling you the ‘Signing of the Season’. How does that make you feel and does it motivate you to keep performing?
It’s nice to hear, but I don’t take any credit for myself. The coaches and the players around me motivated me a lot. With this group of players we have at Saracens, you always strive to become better and work harder.
How does the Aviva Premiership differ from Super Rugby?
There is quite a big difference between the two, but if I had to pick one area then it would have to be the speed of the game. Super Rugby is a lot faster, whereas in Europe teams tend to be a lot more physical.
It was bittersweet for you guys last season, winning the Champions Cup and then, the very next week, losing to Exeter in the Premiership semi-final. What was the feeling in the Sarries camp after that game?
Winning the Champions Cup will always be one of my fondest rugby memories, so to go from that high to the disappointment of losing in the semi-final the week after, was tough. The guys felt like they had let each other and the team down.
Have you set yourself any personal goals for the upcoming season?
I’ve set myself a few personal goals, with the first being that I feel fit, strong and prepared for the first Premiership game. After this I plan to just take every game as it comes.
How important is recovery when you’re competing at the highest level?
For me, recovery is probably the most important thing when it comes to being a professional rugby player. To do what we do on a daily basis, your body goes through a lot so my main focus is to look after my body and make sure I keep it in the best shape that I can with recovery drinks, enough sleep and compression skins.
“…my main focus is to look after my body and make sure I keep it in the best shape that I can…”
The Springboks have recently found some form and are playing some attractive rugby. How do you think they will do in this year’s Rugby Championship?
Watching them perform at the weekend against Argentina, things are looking really positive for the upcoming Rugby Championship. Hopefully they can continue this good run of form.
Did anyone impress you in the summer series against France?
It’s tough to pick out one individual, but I was very impressed with the physicality of the forwards and backs played with a lot of energy.