Tributes are flowing for former Wallabies star Dan Vickerman, who has died, age 37, at his family home in Sydney on Saturday night.

Vickerman played 63 Tests in his career after making his Test debut against France in 2002, but was forced into early retirement by stress fractures in his right leg.

Australian Rugby Union
chief executive Bill Pulver paid tribute to the giant lock.

“Dan was an uncompromising competitor who forged a wonderful international rugby career despite a number of injury setbacks along the way,” he said.

“He was an enforcer on the field and a much-loved character off the field.

“He cared deeply about the game and the players, helping players transition into life after rugby in his role with RUPA (Rugby Union Players Association) following his retirement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan’s family at this extremely difficult time.”

As well as the Wallabies, Vickerman also played for both the Brumbies and the Waratahs in an 86-game Super Rugby career.

Both teams have paid tribute to their former player.

NSW Rugby Union and Waratahs CEO Andrew Hore said:

“Today our NSW Rugby and Waratahs community is in mourning after the tragic passing of Dan Vickerman.

“Dan was well respected for his on field leadership and performance and equally respected by all that knew him off the field.

“His tireless commitment and passion to helping improve Rugby as well as his commitment to supporting players throughout their careers through his role with RUPA, is a legacy that will long live on.

“The shockwaves of his tragic passing will be felt right across our rugby community. Our thoughts are with his wife Sarah, their two sons and other friends and family during this difficult time.”

RUPA CEO Ross Xenos encouraged all players affected by the tragic news to seek help.

“On behalf of all players, we extend our deepest sympathies to Dan’s young family at this difficult time. We are truly shocked and united in our despair,” he said in a statement.

“Dan was universally respected by his peers and the rugby community during and beyond his playing days. Since retiring, he was very generous in giving back to the game through coaching and voluntary roles supporting players’ off-field development.

“We encourage all players who are affected by today’s terribly sad news to support and be there for each other and to contact RUPA if they would like to talk.”

Further tributes from the national and international rugby communities are flowing to Vickerman online.

Photo: Getty / Cameron Spencer.

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