Vickerman ‘stoked’ to be back in Aussie mix

Lock Dan Vickerman said on Monday he wants to repay the faith shown in him by Wallabies coach Robbie Deans as he pushes for a place in Australia’s squad for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in September.

The South Africa-born lineout ace only returned to Australia this month after completing three years of university study in England.

Vickerman, who had not played rugby since mid-March, had 20 minutes off the replacements’ bench in the Waratahs’ final regular season Super 15 game against the Brumbies a week ago.

He followed up with one half of a club rugby game for Sydney University at the weekend.

Deans watched Vickerman play against the Brumbies and the big forward is gratified by the interest and support he is getting from the national coach.

“I’m pretty stoked, to be honest,” Vickerman told reporters. “I think I’m pretty fortunate to have guys who have got a little bit of faith in me so, hopefully, I can repay that faith and get a few good performances under the belt.

“It’s always good to have positive feedback and it’s fantastic. I’m just keen to get amongst it and repay the favours that have been shown to me.”

Vickerman, who was a member of Australia’s squad at the 2007 World Cup in France, said he was a few full games away from reaching peak match fitness.

“I’m working quite hard on the conditioning during the week and punching out a game on the weekend,” Vickerman said. “I think, hopefully, a couple of 80 minutes and I should be right fitness-wise, and just get all the rustiness out and get the skill base back to where it needs to be.” — Sapa-AFP

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