Vickerman set for overseas switch
January 25, 2008

Wallabies lock Daniel Vickerman has elected not to re-sign with the Australian Rugby Union beyond this year, leading to speculation he could be considering a move overseas.

Vickerman today confirmed the news but was quick to point out that his decision was not merely a financial matter.

"It's definitely not a money decision," he explained. "This is about a new avenue at this time in my life.

"It's been a very difficult decision to make but it came down to lifestyle, about playing in a different environment, having a bit of a mental refresher and taking the chance to upskill myself on and off the field.

"Basically, it's about doing something new at this stage of my career.

"Australian Rugby has been extremely kind to me over the years and not only have I had the chance to play for the Wallabies, but I've been fortunate enough to reach the 50-Test milestone along the way.

"That is something I'm very grateful for, a privilege that will be with me for the rest of my life.

"While I've taken this decision, I am under contract with Australian Rugby this season and I'm excited about the prospect of playing under a new national coach in Robbie Deans.

"Obviously that will depend on form but the Super 14 season with the Waratahs will be a good opportunity for me to put my best foot forward and to present my case to the national selectors."

Vickerman, who is also the player representative on the NSWRU Board, said it was a lifestyle and career choice rather than a Rugby decision.

"Let me say from the outset this has never been about money and I'm fully committed to the Waratahs this season and I'm totally focused on winning the Super 14," said Vickerman.

"I made that commitment to the team and they were the first to know about my decision which was very important to me.

"I know there's been some speculation about clubs overseas but this decision is independent of that because it's about my career off the field which is starting to take shape through my studies and business contacts.

"I haven't ruled out a return in a couple of years and hopefully I'd still be competitive like Joe Roff was when he returned from a brief break from the game here."

HSBC Waratahs Head Coach Ewen McKenzie expressed great disappointment in Vickerman's decision to go but would not stand in his way.

"It's a massive loss no doubt about it but Dan's made his decision and I respect him for it," McKenzie said.

"We gave it our best shot but Dan's mind is made up and I expect nothing less than his best season for the Waratahs in 2008.

"I appreciate his honesty because it wasn't easy to stand up in front of the group and tell them this is going to be his last season. But he did it and did it well.

"This could be his last shot at a Waratahs Super 14 title so his motivation will be higher than ever before and I'm sure the entire squad will feed off his enthusiasm."

Australian Rugby Union High Performance general manager Pat Howard said he was disappointed to lose a player of Vickerman's stature.

"But Dan is under contract for 2008 and we're looking to a big season from him at both the Waratahs and Wallabies," said Howard.

"We're also pleased he's given an indication the door is not closed on him possibly returning in the future."

Vickerman suggested he might consider reigniting his career in Australia after a two-year stint offshore.

"It's not necessarily the end of my time in Australian Rugby," he said.

"In two years time, if I'm still the caliber of player someone might be interested in, then of course I'd look at a possible return. I'm not ruling that out.

"You never say never."


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