England legend Vickery forced to retire
October 28, 2010
Phil Vickery has been forced to retire%]
Legendary England prop Phil Vickery has been forced to retire from rugby with immediate effect due to medical advice.
One of the game's enduring characters, Vickery won the Rugby World Cup with England in 2003 before skippering his country to the final four years later, also winning Test caps on two British & Irish Lions tours.
The tight-head's last Test match was the tourists' victory over South Africa in July 2009 - a game in which he exacted some manner of revenge on Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira following a first Test mauling.
The 34-year-old Cornwall native successfully fought back from serious back and neck injuries in the past but has been forced to call it a day following another neck problem. At club level he played 11 seasons for Gloucester before moving to Wasps in 2006 - winning the Heineken Cup in 2007 and the Premiership title in 2008.
"Anyone that knows me will know that I can be a bit headstrong - 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," he said.
"My desire and want to play is still as strong as it's ever been but this is something that has to happen and I'm looking forward to the next chapter. I will look back on my career with a lot of happy memories. I feel privileged to have been part of some amazing teams in Wasps and Gloucester, to have worked with the best coaches in the world, and to have played against and with some of the best players in the game.
"Through the sad times, the injuries and the setbacks, my desire and passion for the game has never wavered. Rugby has given me an awful lot and I still love the game and I look back with real happiness, it's been amazing."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action