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Koch to stay with Pumas for Currie Cup

Star Stormers prop Vincent Koch will not be available for Western Province in this year’s Currie Cup.

According to Netwerk24, Koch’s contract with the Pumas lasts until the end of 2016 and his home union has no intention of letting him go.

“He will play (Currie Cup rugby) for me in 2015 and 2016,” said Pumas president Hein Mentz.

“Our viewpoint is that we give players opportunities to improve. Therefore, we made Vincent available to the Stormers and Renaldo Bothma and Giant Mtyanda to the Sharks.

“Vincent was loaned to the Stormers because the Lions, our franchise partner, didn’t regard him as good enough.” [Slip-up by the Lions?]

Mentz added that there is still uncertainty regarding the franchise composition for next year’s expanded Super Rugby competition.

Should the Pumas again form part of the Lions franchise, then that franchise would have first option to utilise Koch, otherwise he could return to play for the Stormers. [Question is: "Will the Lions make the same mistake again next year? I don't think  so, and with the backing of Emirates Airlines, I won't be too surprised to see him playing for the Golden Lions after 2016.]

When probed about the possibility of selling Koch to Western Province on a permanent basis, Mentz said: “Money can’t buy everything. We have a long-term vision here. If you make short-term decisions, it could cost you in the long run.”

Koch has been a standout performer for the Stormers this year and with Frans Malherbe likely away with the Boks, his absence would be felt by WP in the Currie Cup.

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The Pumas took a discarded player and after a season or two decided to make a thighthead out of him. Ei think Jimmy said he can make a big name for himself on thighthead. They developed him and should therefore have the chance of making use of it. They also offer their players the opportunity to grow as mentioned by Mr Mentz. The role of smaller unions is not to be discarded.

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