‘It’s for South Africa again’ – Sharks’ Springboks hoping to inspire historic maiden European title

Dylan Coetzee
The Sharks celebrate after advancing to the Challenge Cup final.

The Sharks celebrate after advancing to the Challenge Cup final.

Springboks front-row Vincent Koch is desperate to help the Sharks beat Gloucester in the Challenge Cup final on Friday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

It has been a tricky season for the Sharks who have struggled in the United Rugby Championship, managing just four wins from 17 so far. However, they have found some solace in the Challenge Cup where the high-powered squad showed their worth.

Growing side

Koch believes that if the Sharks get over the line and become the first South African team to win a European title it would reflect the side’s growth in the second half of the campaign.

“If we do win this, then, I won’t say the season then looks better, but it definitely looks a little bit better, you know?” said Koch.

“It doesn’t reflect what we did in the first half of the season, but how we fixed it and how we finished the season, so for us, it’s very important.

“Playing in Europe is amazing. I’ve been there with Saracens, but there for a South African club, it’s a surreal moment.”

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Koch admitted that it was tricky for the team’s Springboks to link up with the team once the season had begun.

For South Africa

“The Springboks joining a bit later, we didn’t really know what the culture was until we joined, then we knew exactly what coach (John) Plumtree wanted us to do and how he wants us to play,” he said.

“The Sharks, haven’t won anything internationally yet, and for us that’s massive.

“And then of course playing on an international level, it’s for South Africa once again. We want to walk away and lift the trophy and say that it was again for South Africa, and for the family, and for the fans, and for everyone, and the brand as well.”

Meanwhile, Gloucester boss George Skivington drew a parallel between the sides regarding their league form, but he is not blind to the fact that the Sharks are loaded with Rugby World Cup winners.

“They (the Sharks) have got a lot of high-profile players, a lot of guys who can do things out of nowhere, which goes from backline players to (Eben) Etzebeth in the second-row and World Cup-winning front-rowers,” said Skivington.

“Like us, their league campaign hasn’t gone to plan, so both teams have a lot to play for.”

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