The collective comes first

Lions tourist Phil Vickery says the 2009 tour of South Africa will be all about putting the team ethic before individual disappointments or grievances. [more]

The collective comes first

Lions tourist Phil Vickery says the 2009 tour of South Africa will be all about putting the team ethic before individual disappointments or grievances.

The Wasps prop and former England captain toured with the Lions in 2001 and is fully aware of the unique team spirit that is needed if the Lions are to defeat the Springboks this summer.

The 33-year-old, who led England to the World Cup Final in 2007, is determined to set an example this summer whether he breaks into the Lions Test team or becomes a regular Dirt Tracker.

“You have to go with the right mentality,” Vickery told Thisisgloucestershire.co.uk.

”Everyone has to accept it is not about you as an individual, it is about everyone pulling together creating one team.
“If you can’t sacrifice your ego for seven or eight weeks you are a pretty sad individual.”

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Vickery started all three Test matches against Australia in 2001 before missing the 2005 tour with a broken arm. The experience of winning the first international in Brisbane eight years ago remains a career highlight but he is desperate to avoid experiencing another series defeat in Lions colours.

“I don’t want to come back from South Africa having lost the Test series and hopefully I can have a role in that.

“If I am not selected I have to make sure I do everything I can to make sure the person who is selected has the right support.

“It is tough. When there are 37 guys all going for 15 jerseys there are going to be some pretty disappointed guys – but it is how you deal with that.

“I am sure mental toughness comes into the selection equation. You have to show how much playing for the British and Irish Lions means to you.”

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