Rugby | Pumas: Bok prop, agent blackmailing us

Cape Town – The Pumas have lodged an official complaint with SA Rugby regarding a matter involving tighthead prop Vincent Koch, who is still on their books.

This comes after English club Saracens earlier this week announced the signing of the Springbok.

Koch, 26, will join the English and European champions on a two-year deal ahead of the 2016/17 season.

He has represented the Stormers as a loan player for the past two seasons, but is still contracted to the Pumas until the end of October.

The Pumas want him to play for them in the Currie Cup later this year before he departs for England.

Koch is believed to be upset because the Pumas do not want to agree on a transfer fee with Saracens. He has now informed the Pumas that he will be undergoing an operation for a long-term knee injury once the Super Rugby season is over.

But the Pumas are not buying Koch’s excuse and believe that the prop and his agent Gert van der Merwe are “blackmailing” them.

The Mpumalanga union say they have received information that Koch is not injured.

“It’s blatant blackmailing,” Pieter Burger, CEO of the Pumas told Netwerk24.

“If Vincent’s knee injury is so serious, why is the operation postponed? It’s very coincidental that he needs to spend time on the sidelines exactly when he should represent us in the Currie Cup.

“We invested in Vincent when no one else believed in him. Those were the opportunities we created for him, that allowed him to grow. We don’t have any claims to his future, but we would like him to give something back to the local players in a final Currie Cup campaign.”

The transfer fee Saracens eventually agreed upon was R240 000, but the Pumas’ executive council turned down the offer.

“Seasoned tighthead props are scarce commodities in South African rugby. R240 000 for a Springbok prop is ridiculous,” said Burger.

Koch played two Tests for the Springboks in 2015.

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