Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Rugbydump recently caught up with Phil Vickery to chat about, among other things , his culinary skills, the secrets of playing rugby with a hangover, and what he's up to off the field these days .
Let's start at the beginning - what is your earliest rugby memory?
Probably watching the Five Nations on Grandstand on a Saturday afternoon! I also remember players like Paul Ackford and Wade Dooley really standing out. I didnt start actually playing until I went to secondary school.
Talk us through that great try you scored for Gloucester in 2002.
I was knackered so loitering out on the wing and I think it was Jamie Forrester that passed to me. I bumped off a couple of tacklers and much to my amazement and everyone else's, scored.
In more recent times, have you been approached by any French clubs and considered going?
Yes of course I have had offers but Wasps have looked after me really well. It would be easy to chase the money but it can be volatile out there and I would prefer to stay as Wasps and finish my career there.
Have you ever smuggled blood capsules onto the field in your socks?
I can honestly say it has all been my own natural blood.
You have a famous namesake. What are you like in the kitchen.
I have actually met him when I did Ready Steady Cook and he is a lovely guy. I do all the cooking at home and really enjoy it. Quite into all the home produce and growing your own vegetables.
What is your advice or secret for young front rowers who would like to play for as many years as you have, while at the same time not get driven into the ground?
I would say do not be afraid of the impact and make sure if you are in your middle teens to focus on building strength and muscle gradually so you are strong enough to do the job. It is a really special position to play prop and only guys who play there understand.
For me rugby is the greatest team sport in the world as no matter what shape you are there is a position for you. For props out there it is about playing at your highest level of ability whatever that is. I have made hundreds of friends through the sport and have been lucky in what I have achieved. Some players who I thought had more ability have not achieved so a lot is down to the work you put in and ability to deal with the pressure.
After a big match of gruelling scrums and bruising hits, front rowers necks and shoulders take serious strain whats the best, quickest and most effective remedy towards a good recovery?
It is not just the neck and shoulders that take the strain. It is also your spine, legs and feet! Ice baths work the best or alternate between hot showers and cold baths. If you cant do that just ice the sore areas and try to get a massage.
In your vast playing experience, who do you admire and respect the most as an individual, and who has been the toughest front row to scrum against?
It has to be John Smit the South African captain. He has been criticised but kept his head down and keeps playing. He can play tighthead or loosehead and is very talented. He is also a great guy and competitor who I have met and liked as well as respected.
Toughest front rows to play against for me are the French. Whether it is club or international, they put a huge emphasis on the scrum.
Ever played an important match with a massive hangover?
A few! I am not telling you which but I will say some of them were my best games.
What was the 2007 World Cup experience like after losing so badly to the Springboks, then picking up brilliantly and making it all the way to the final to face them again?
We were at an all time low so expectations on us were also low. We then began to perform as we knew we could and built momentum which drove us all the way to the final. It was tremendous to be able to face them again and show what we were capable of.
What do you think caused the reversal of fortunes between you and Beast Mtawarira in the first and third Lions tests in South Africa - a change in technique on your part, or was the scrum simply officiated better?
It was a combination of lots of things. Officiated better, change of personnel and technique which led to a more stable pack.
What are your favourite memories from the tour, both on and off the field?
Without a doubt the group of lads and coaches on the tour made it what it was. I also remember Brian ODriscoll coming into the dining room and without looking around just sat with the nearest group of lads. There was no separation of countries at all just a very easy camaraderie between us all.
Who was the biggest joker in the camp?
2011 World Cup Will Phil Vickery be a name on the England teamsheet?
No reason why not. I am not giving up just yet although of course it is not my decision and my form has to warrant it.
Please tell us about your clothing range, Raging Bull .
It is going very well indeed and has just gone into 9 Debenhams stores which is a good move for us to be in such a major group. I had the idea for a clothing company as I always thought my nickname would translate well as a brand.
As you can imagine I am a real stickler for quality and all the on-field and off-field ranges are made to very high standards. The Wasps and England boys are always asking me for product so I guess we are getting it right! I also want to say a massive thank you to all the rugby community who have reacted so well to the brand and really supported it.
Offer ends 30th September 2010.