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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Come get this bread … Springboks’ Vincent Koch can earn more baguettes against Romania

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Little wonder rugby props are built the way they are, when you hear from France that Ox Nche is munching his favourite chocolate gateaux and Vincent Koch is hooked on freshly-baked baguettes.

It can’t be all work and no play for the Springboks in the tourist mecca that is the south of France – the Boks are based in Toulon – and Koch has been sampling the local fare with enthusiasm.

“My favourite French food? The baguettes, of course,” Koch said.

“For some reason, you don’t pick up too much weight if you have too many. And the crepes are always a good thing to keep the big boys happy.”

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Koch might be deluding himself about the calorie intake of baguettes, but his eye is on the ball for Sunday’s Rugby World Cup Pool B match against Romania (3pm kickoff).

This is a match the Boks are expected to win by a cricket score (Ireland beat the same team 82-8 last week), but that will only happen if the Boks keep their focus and give respect to the eastern Europeans.

“I don’t really know much about them, but of course, we’ve been analysing them this week,” Koch said.

“We saw (against Ireland) that they have a decent forward pack – they play with passion, and they want to make their people back home proud.

“We are looking forward to a nice physical battle against them. I thought their forwards did really well against Ireland. They stole a few lineouts, and their scrum was decent.”

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Koch will enjoy a rare start on Sunday at tighthead prop – the vast majority of his 46 caps have been off the bench – and he said it is important that the squad use this opportunity to get better ahead of the stern tests that await (they play Ireland next week).

“We’re going to play the way we want to play. We want to get better. As South Africa, we pride ourselves on set-pieces, and we want to get stronger at that,” he said.

“For all of us, it’s an opportunity to show what we can do. We are representing the Springboks. You want to deliver a performance that is best for the team.

“If that is good enough, the coaches will select the best players for the next game. We want to contribute and make the country proud.”

@MikeGreenaway67

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