Springbok Vincent Koch

Springbok Vincent Koch celebrates. Photo: SA Rugby website.

From classroom trouble to World Cup glory: Koch’s coach story

Springbok star Vincent Koch reveals the coaches who shaped his career, from high school to World Cup glory.

Springbok Vincent Koch

Springbok Vincent Koch celebrates. Photo: SA Rugby website.

World Cup champion Vincent Koch has spoken candidly about the transformative coaching style of Rassie Erasmus, the man widely regarded as the architect of South Africa’s rugby dominance. Koch, a seasoned prop who has excelled on the world stage, describes Erasmus as “the best coach, hands down.”

Erasmus’ Coaching: More Than Just Strategy

Koch emphasizes that Erasmus’s mastery of rugby goes beyond tactics and game plans. “The way he thinks, his deep knowledge, that’s obviously key,” Koch admits. “But what makes him unique is the way he builds a team. He makes players believe in themselves, believe in each other – that’s when the magic happens.”

This team-first mentality, fostered by Erasmus, played a major role in South Africa’s string of World Cup victories. It’s a coaching legacy Koch believes will be hard for anyone to replicate.

Koch’s Journey to the Top

Despite his admiration for Erasmus, Koch recognizes the formative influence of coaches earlier in his journey. His high school coach instilled the discipline that transformed him from a “naughty kid in class” (Koch’s own words) into a focused athlete.

Yet, Jimmy Stonehouse of the Pumas stands out as a figure who shaped Koch’s professional ethos.

Stonehouse: A Coach That Values Grit

“Jimmy taught me that there are no shortcuts,” Koch says. “He’s the one who drilled into me that you won’t reach the top without incredible effort, day in and day out.” Stonehouse’s emphasis on work ethic echoes the demands of international rugby, a testament to his own coaching prowess – further underscored by the Pumas’ stunning Currie Cup win in 2022.

Koch: A Tapestry of Influences

Koch’s remarkable career trajectory has been shaped by multiple coaching figures. While the spotlight remains deservedly on Rassie Erasmus, his journey reveals the lasting value of dedicated mentors at every stage, from strict high school coaches to those instilling an unyielding work ethic.