Sydney - Dan Vickerman may have played his last game for the Waratahs and
Wallabies, with injury concerns understood to have him contemplating
High-ranking NSW sources told the Herald on Wednesday that the exceptional Test second-rower could be forced to give
football away within the next few weeks due to a stress fracture to his
leg, and that it was highly unlikely he would be involved in this year's
Waratahs Super Rugby campaign, which starts on Saturday next week.
A source close to the 32-year-old Test player said he was expected to decide within days.
Several days ago, the NSW Rugby Union provided an injury
list that revealed Vickerman was not expected to return to the
Waratahs until April because of a shoulder injury. After last year's
Rugby World Cup, he underwent a shoulder reconstruction to fix a problem
that he played with during the tournament.
Vickerman, a veteran of 63 Tests and 92 provincial caps
with NSW, the Brumbies and Northampton, was a non-attendee at
yesterday's Waratahs season launch in Sydney.
Waratahs officials later explained that he was instead
receiving ''ongoing treatment'' to his leg. Even before the lunch,
sources were saying that he was ''seriously contemplating pulling the
Vickerman's unavailability might also explain the unexpected appearance of former Brumbies captain and back-rower Stephen Hoiles at Waratahs training this
week. Hoiles was invited to train with the Waratahs after being
released by the Brumbies, and if a forward spot becomes open through the
departure of Vickerman, the popular former NSW player might get it.
If, as expected, Vickerman farewells the Waratahs, it
will be an enormous blow for the province striving for their first Super
Rugby title. They were relying on his expertise and leadership skills
So highly did they rate him that he was recently included in the team's leadership group.
Vickerman enjoys the same esteem within the Wallabies, with coach Robbie Deans one of his most loyal supporters.
Deans and Australian Rugby Union chief executive John
O'Neill were crucial in ensuring that Vickerman returned to Australian
Rugby last year after he had completed his studies at Cambridge
For several seasons Vickerman put his football career on
hold to complete a land economy degree, but shortly after returning to
Sydney last year was rushed into the Waratahs squad. Deans, long a fan
of his abrasive, physical style, soon had him involved with the
NSW start their season without Wallabies wing Lachie
Turner, who is expected to miss the season with a hamstring tear,
while Drew Mitchell has said he will not be fit for the first game.