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Wales vs England 1999

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Friday, October 29, 2010

The Raging Bull Phil Vickery retires from rugby

Former England captain Phil Vickery called time on his illustrious career yesterday after medical advice ruled that he should hang up his well worn boots. Here’s a feature from Total Rugby, as well as an interview from yesterday.

After three lower back operations, two shoulder ops, and four career threatening injuries, it’s now time for Phil to throw in the towel after being advised that if he keeps pushing his body, the risk of serious injury will be high.

Desite that, he’s gutted and while remaining positive, the news and reality of a 15 year career coming to an abrupt halt will take some time to sink in.

"I think sportsmen have two deaths – one when they retire and one when they actually go," he said in an interview earlier today. "It's not a nice feeling and ultimately I'm a sportsman so in my head it feels like admitting defeat. But I will look back on my career with a lot of happy memories.

Vickery says that the pain he deals with on a day to day basis is something he’s learnt to live with, but this latest injury, after picking up a ‘stinger’ when playing for Wasps last month, signalled that something was seriously wrong.

"This time I knew something wasn't right. I am not scared of pain but the pain level was more than before. Even now just sitting, driving in the car, trying to sleep at night is painful. I sneezed earlier and thought someone had stabbed me in the back of the head. I know I can't carry on like this.

"I'm not afraid of fighting back or proving people wrong but there comes a stage when you have to listen and trust in the experts and it is based on medical reasons that I have been forced to retire.

"There will be no more operations. It is going to need a lifetime of maintenance now, it is not just week to week and month to month. I have never been under any illusions as to what you put your body through. Do I want to know what I will be like in later life? Probably not," he added.

"Rugby has given me everything in my life. It has been a dream run. I look back with real happiness and it's been amazing. Through the sad times, the injuries and the setbacks, my desire and passion for the game has never wavered.

"The more I look back and think about it the more I think what I've done is fantastic and I have a lot of fond memories but, of course, it's sad," he said.

A great man both on and off the pitch, we wish him well in his future endeavours. Below are two videos, the first of which is a recent feature on him by Total Rugby, the second is a short interview from yesterday as the 34 year old gave his thoughts on the unfortunate news.



  • Fine player.

    Does anyone know how he got the nickname?

    By Anonymous Mr Lif, at October 29, 2010 5:52 pm  

  • First...!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 29, 2010 5:57 pm  

  • mr life what was his nickname ?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 29, 2010 6:00 pm  

  • Nickname is Raging Bull

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 29, 2010 6:05 pm  

  • .....ok, im not being funny, but was i the only person that wished he'd retired about 5 years ago?

    I mean he was a good player in his prime....and i mean good, i dont mean excellent, outstanding, or world best....and ofcourse i do not mean anything less than world class....

    ...but he is a club player...in my eyes....

    he did his job, (not that thats a bad thing) but thats about as far as it goes...he gave it his all and put himself on the line, but as far as im concerned he acted like a thug on many incidents and let himself down....

    I personally thought it was depressingly sad that even though he was clearly passed it he was picked time and time again for England....yes you cant beat experience but when you're getting the rest of the team to scan the field for parts of your prop as he hobbles off the pitch is that not too far?

    I dunno, i have respect for the guy, but i certainly do not view him as a world great legend or anything.

    Im sorry if this offends anyone, it is not my intention, and this is not a dig at anything it is merely my opinion of this particular player.

    and im sure he is 'a lovely bloke to have a pint with' and im sure he could 'kick my ass' and etc etc...

    By Anonymous Joe, at October 29, 2010 6:21 pm  

  • Joe,

    Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but Vickery on his day was an absolute talisman. I mean, over the past few years or so, he was definitely not as good as he was in his prime, but look at what he did for English rugby. He lead us to a world cup final, destroyed the wallabies scrum with Sheridan, and has never been anything but gracious in victory and defeat. I'm not sure where you're getting this "he acted like a thug on some occassions" nonsense, because Vickery was a fine example of a man with great sportsmanship.

    Read this match report, 3rd paragraph down says it all.

    Even after his humiliation in the first test he came back and showed how world class he was by taking it to the SA scrum. I've noticed a lot of people say he's "overrated" but really, who would you have had as prop over the past few years instead of him? Tim Payne? Noone's really bested him in his position in terms of Englishmen over the past 5 years or so.

    Also, he actually is a great guy to have a pint with, he spent a year or so living in South Buckinghamshire in my village! He's fantastic at darts too!

    By Anonymous Chris M, at October 29, 2010 6:37 pm  

  • ChrisM, I think i misdirected my point somewhat, I suppose it is muddled, i merely meant it is a shame that no one did best vickery....because other countries were turning out talent and england really had no one who could step up and take over an over the hill player...

    as for his thug like behaviour..perhaps thug is a strong word, perhaps indiscipline is a better choice of word....

    I can recall a trip on a frenchman, a fair few stamps..umm there is others but im not here to hang draw and quarter him, because i know he did have fine moments in his career, i just felt he was finished a long time ago.

    By Anonymous Joe, at October 29, 2010 6:44 pm  

  • met vickery in duban after the 1st test against s.africa (british and irish lions 09).he had a very bad day at the office that day against the beast . he was gtted to the core for playing so bad and leting himself and the team down.but came back for the3rd test and played realy well that showed true grit

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 29, 2010 7:14 pm  

  • That's a shame. Very good player. Very humble person.

    By Anonymous KG, at October 29, 2010 9:10 pm  

  • Why would you want him to retire? Hes playing 1) for the love of the game, how can you deny him that and 2) Hes trying to make a living for him and his family by playing professionally.

    Blame the selectors if you dont want him picked - just because hes playing doesnt mean that selectors must pick him.

    By Anonymous BigBucks, at October 29, 2010 9:16 pm  

  • oh geeez big bucks get over it, i wasnt trying to deny this guy his fun, or his right to play...i was merely stating i found it embarrassing to see him represent england and play a game of rugby far from his best....i know it can be easy to give up (as he states) but it would (in the ideal world) nice to see him slip gracefully into retirement, rather than slipping, stumbling and eventually crashing into broken heap, then being swept into the retirement bin...

    By Anonymous Joe, at October 29, 2010 10:27 pm  

  • Why are guys getting on Joe's back? he obviously put some thought into his comments and stated them diplomatically.

    I certainly respect your opinion, Joe.

    By Anonymous EARugbyFan, at October 29, 2010 10:45 pm  

  • Yeah, fair enough points, Joe. I can't say I found Vickery the best of all time or anything, but clearly, he's been to a top level of rugby that very few can say they've been to. And he did it through hard work, determination, and fighting spot on the squad.

    By Anonymous pete, at October 29, 2010 11:11 pm  

  • He didn't want anymore of the Beast.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 30, 2010 12:53 am  

  • Btw, don't bother mentioning the 3rd Lions tour test and how Vickery came back in the scrums. The Boks had Chiliboy, the politically selected black man playing hooker. As soon as du Plessis came on it was Beasting time again.

    By Anonymous No I dont think so, at October 30, 2010 12:59 am  

  • destroyed the wallabies scrum with Sheridan

    Key word here, WALLABIES.

    There is this funny joke which I think is somewhat relevant.

    England play ten man rugby, forwards, pick and drives, with a halfback and flyhalf for territory.

    Australia also play ten man rugby, they don't have a tight five.

    Everyone has destroyed the Wallabies, heck, even Fiji gave them a rough ride this year.

    By Anonymous Chris, at October 30, 2010 1:45 am  

  • Im not getting on your back - im stating an opinion just like you did

    You put your opinion down for a reason on here - for people to see it - i've seen it and just replied.

    No need to get all stressy on me, im not giving you a dig, just putting down my 2 cents like everyone else on here

    By Anonymous BigBucks, at October 30, 2010 1:53 am  

  • Well, I feel like should interject at this point with a few valid obsevations and concerns of my own....

    or perhaps not as this ones for Phil Vickery, not me.

    Nice one lad, you'll be missed by players and fans alike. I'll never forget the way you ran over Robbie Fleck when Eng beat the Boks 53 - 3 back in 2002. My favourate Vickey moment.
    Cheers, a fan

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 30, 2010 2:25 am  

  • ^ Yeah well he couldn't stop what happened in 07,08 could he? You know, the games where the Boks beat England by 50+ in consecutive weeks, or the 36-0 at the World Cup (cited for tripping lmfao) or the 42-6 score at Twickenham (Engs biggest defeat there)

    Looks like I win this one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 30, 2010 3:16 am  

  • For God's sake since when did this become an Eng SA contest of who had more wins recently!!!

    Good luck Phil, very well played, and forget any of the drabble on this blog!!!

    By Blogger Alexander, at October 30, 2010 4:12 am  

  • Some of you are embarrassing SA fans and South Aficans in general. Pull your head in.

    By Anonymous Greiffel, at October 30, 2010 8:40 am  

  • it's always sad to see a player leave because of injury.
    Was he the best in his position in the world? Maybe not. Maybe he had an occasional bad day at the office. But he gave his everything (including his health) for his country a fair few times and should be applauded for that. Best of luck Phil and thanks for the memories.

    By Anonymous dutchrugbyplayer, at October 30, 2010 9:29 am  

  • Good luck Phil, you've managed to do what so many dream of.

    Ignore the xenophobic prats in here - I recon they're just kids with keyboards.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 30, 2010 12:09 pm  

  • He seemed like a bit of a dick on the 2009 lions dvd.
    Just saying.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 30, 2010 2:55 pm  

  • ^^ oh the irony ^^

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 30, 2010 7:25 pm  

  • "Australia also play ten man rugby, they don't have a tight five.

    Everyone has destroyed the Wallabies, heck, even Fiji gave them a rough ride this year."

    AUS beat NZ today with a pretty similar squad (and a poor scrum)... England can't be that bad.

    Also, when ENG beat AUS, they did so by using their backs. The backs played a great game that day (as well as the forwards). Perhaps ENG might be able to play a bit more than 10 man rugby...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 31, 2010 2:19 am  

  • Never been a great fan of the English front row players (OK, I am French ;-)) but it does not mean for that I desrespect them.

    Sounds like he made honor to the White Jersey and his role as a prop.

    At club level, I liked his partnership with Ibanez. May be not the most charismatic player but certainly hard working one. What else to ask for?

    Good luck to him for his future.

    By Anonymous Flipje, at October 31, 2010 1:27 pm  

  • great player and so humble

    By Anonymous rosh, at October 31, 2010 3:13 pm  

  • All he'll be remembered for South of the equator is the fact that BEAST ended his career! :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 01, 2010 11:37 am  

  • ^^Another SA fan doing himself proud^^


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 01, 2010 10:15 pm  

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