Sydney - Former Wallabies
lock Dan Vickerman was remembered as a "colossal" man who gave
selflessly to rugby at an emotional public memorial in Sydney on
The South African-born forward died at home at the age
of 37 last month, triggering mourning across the rugby world and shining
the spotlight on the mental health of retired athletes.
of fans, friends and former team-mates gathered at the Sydney University
Oval where Vickerman played club rugby through a career featuring 63 Tests for the Wallabies and three World Cup campaigns.
such a colossal man. His character was so true, his values so strong,
his behaviour so authentic," former University team-mate Chris Malone
said in a eulogy.
"The only judgement was that he was an outstanding man.
"Most of you would not know how generous he was, how he would dedicate his precious time to helping his friends.
Dan said he was going to do something for you, he did. He was always
there for you. And he bloody well made us laugh. He had this mischievous
sense of humour that would make us laugh for hours."
wife, Sarah, and two young sons, Joseph and Xavier, were at the memorial, along with Australia coach
Michael Cheika, Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver and dozens of
Sydney University players wearing the club
jerseys formed a guard of honour for the grieving family members, close
friends and officials.
Vickerman hung up his boots in 2012, forced
into retirement by a serious leg injury, and had forged a successful
career in property investment and fund management while maintaining
strong links to the game.
His sudden death at home earlier this month, with no suspicious circumstances reported by police, stunned the sports-mad nation.
at Cambridge University during a mid-career break, Vickerman had
recently taken a new job at a Melbourne-based fund manager.
He had seemed the perfect role model for players looking to manage the transition into life after sport.