Dan’s done

One of the most experienced Australian forwards won't face the Lions this summer after injury forced him to retire [more]

Dan’s done

One of the most experienced Australian forwards won’t face the Lions this summer after injury forced him to retire

Veteran second row Dan Vickerman has called time on a stellar career just nine months before Britain and Ireland’s elite arrive Down Under.

The 33-year-old missed the entire 2012 Super Rugby campaign with the Waratahs as he failed to recover from a stress facture to his right shin in the Wallabies’ World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand last October.

Vickerman hoped to make a successful comeback and was set to play an important part for his franchise against the Lions even if it was unlikely he would start the Test series for his country. But the Cape Town-born former Baby Bok has finally admitted defeat and won’t be adding to his 63 Test caps or his 86 Super Rugby appearances.

"Having battled injury for the last while, it is disappointing that I have to call it a day on my playing days," said Vickerman, who made his Wallaby debut against France a decade ago.

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"The rigours of professional rugby, it (the shin) just didn't stand up to the load. I don't think being six foot eight and 120 kilos has helped that.

"But in saying that I have been extremely fortunate throughout my career to have played for the teams I have.

"To have had the privilege to represent my country is something I have never taken for granted and each game I have played in has been special."

While not unexpected, the news of Vickerman’s retirement is a blow to Australian rugby.

Fellow leading lock Nathan Sharpe has already called time on his club career but is currently postponing his international retirement through the new Rugby Championship.

Vickerman would have been a hugely valuable assessment for club or country when the Lions come calling thanks to his in-depth knowledge of the British and Irish game.

He spent three years studying at Cambridge University, captaining the Light Blues to victory in the Varsity Match in 2009, and also enjoyed a spell with Northampton Saints during his stay in England.

He returned home in time to push his claims for a 2011 World Cup spot and achieved that lofty aim despite not having played for Test-match Rugby since August 2008.

"As a player, Dan is an uncompromising competitor who sets high standards for himself, and demands the same of those around him. He commands enormous respect, from team-mates and opponents alike, which says a lot about the man," said Wallaby head coach Robbie Deans.

"To be able to get himself back into shape – both physically and mentally – in order to compete against the best players in the world, was an insight into his character and his dedication

"It was particularly impressive considering he had completely stepped out of the game in order to prepare for his life beyond rugby. Nor did he let either himself or Australia down. He was a big factor in Australia's first Tri Nations tournament success for a decade."

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