Something special

One of the Lions' most-successful squad members believes the 2009 tour of South Africa should be an incredible experience for all involved. [more]

Something special

One of the Lions’ most-successful squad members believes the 2009 tour of South Africa should be an incredible experience for all involved.

England prop Phil Vickery has achieved almost everything there is to achieve in the game but he admits the 10-match tour of South Africa could be something extra special.

“It is set up to be a truly magical time,” said Vickery, who has already won a World Cup and Grand Slam with England and both the Heineken Cup and Guinness Premiership with London Wasps.

“I watched the series win in 1997 which was fantastic and so much has happened since then.

“South Africa are now world champions after rebuilding their team, they have just had the elections – there is heaps of stuff going on over there and I know when we arrive it will be a true festival of rugby.“

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Vickery faced the Wallabies with Graham Henry’s Lions in 2001 but he believes the atmosphere in South Africa could even top some incredible scenes in Australia.

The 33-year-old visited the country with his old club Gloucester, giving him an opportunity to experience the passion of the Springbok support from a non-playing perspective.

“I remember going over there with Gloucester and we went to see the Springboks play the All Blacks at Kings Park in Durban. The atmosphere was incredible.

“Very often we don’t get to see that because we are playing. It was magical and I can’t comprehend what it will be like in the first Test (the Lions face the Boks in Durban on June 20).

“It will be a great spectacle and I just hope I can justify my selection out there.”

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