Vincent Koch. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
- The Sharks have announced the signing of Springbok prop Vincent Koch.
- Koch joins the franchise after the 2023 Rugby World Cup from Stade Francais.
- Koch said that fellow Springbok Eben Etzebeth convinced him to join the Sharks.
South Africa prop Vincent Koch said on Wednesday his Test team-mate Eben Etzebeth helped convince him to return home and join the Durban-based Sharks.
Koch, 33, will leave Stade Francais after this year’s Rugby World Cup for a deal at Kings Park Stadium.
Lock Etzebeth moved to Durban this season to feature alongside the Springboks’ World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi, who will make the reverse trip to the French capital to join Racing 92.
“Eben got lured by Siya Kolisi, and I got lured by Eben,” Koch told AFP.
“Mates from the Springboks made my decision much easier,” he added.
READ | Sharks to lose Bok prop Thomas du Toit to English club
Koch left South Africa in 2016 for a contract in England with Saracens. He left to join Wasps last summer but never actually played for them as the club went into administration in October.
In the fall-out, he took up an offer to join Stade Francais in the Top 14 for the remainder of this season.
Tight-head Koch was born in Empangeni, just two hours up the coast from Durban and his wife is from the city.
“She went back home and saw my son enjoying being with his grandparents a lot,” Koch said.
“I realised that there’s nothing stronger than family. I’ve been away from my family for the last seven years, I’ve missed my family, I’ve missed my country.”
Koch won the 2019 World Cup alongside Etzebeth and Kolisi and will replace another member of that squad in Thomas Du Toit at the Sharks.
Du Toit, 27, will leave for English club Bath after the tournament, with the final on October 28 in Paris.
“The Sharks gave me an opportunity,” he said. “They said they were keen and were looking to get me on board.
“Thomas Du Toit has signed for Bath so there’s an opportunity at tight-head.
“They came to the table and I was more than happy to go to the Sharks,” Koch said.
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