Rugby: Former Australia lock Vickerman dies at 37

Sports Sunday 19/February/2017 13:43 PM
By: Times News Service
Rugby: Former Australia lock Vickerman dies at 37

Sydney: Former Australia lock Dan Vickerman died at home in Sydney on Saturday night, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) said on Sunday. He was 37.
South African-born Vickerman played 63 Tests for Australia after his debut in 2002 and featured in three World Cup campaigns before being forced to call time on his career because of a leg injury less than a year after the 2011 tournament.
"The rugby world is in shock today after news of the tragic passing of Dan Vickerman," ARU chief Bill Pulver said in a statement.
"He was an enforcer on the field and a much-loved character off the field. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan's family at this extremely difficult time."
Vickerman's international career came in two parts. He left Australia to study at Cambridge University in England in 2007 and made a surprise return to feature in the 2011 World Cup, his last test being the semifinal loss to New Zealand.
In 2010, he had a rod inserted into his right tibia which allowed his return to the international stage but he continued to suffer from considerable discomfort relating to a stress fracture in the bone.
He had the rod removed in February 2012 but was unable to get back to a point where he could play again and retired from the game in August that same year.
The tribute then Wallabies coach Robbie Deans paid him upon retirement gave an insight into why he was so keen to bring Vickerman back from international exile.
"As a player, Dan is an uncompromising competitor who sets high standards for himself, and demands the same of those around him," the New Zealander said.
"He commands enormous respect, from team mates and opponents alike, which says a lot about the man."
After retirement, Vickerman had worked in the financial world, for the Rugby Union Player's Association and as a media pundit.
The 204 cm-tall second row also played Super Rugby for the ACT Brumbies and New South Wales Waratahs as well as captaining Cambridge in the Varsity match and turning out on four occasions for English club Northampton Saints.
"The shockwaves of his tragic passing will be felt right across our rugby community," Waratahs chief executive Andrew Hore said in a media release.
"Our thoughts are with his wife Sarah, their two sons and other friends and family during this difficult time."