Wallabies player Dan Vickerman celebrates following the 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter-final win over South Africa.
Wallabies player Dan Vickerman celebrates following the 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter-final win over South Africa. DAVE HUNT

Rugby world in shock at ex-Wallaby's death

RUGBY UNION: Australian rugby is in shock after the sudden death of former Wallabies star Dan Vickerman.

The 37-year-old passed away on Saturday night. It's believed there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

He leaves behind a wife and two young children.

Former teammates who were told the news on Sunday have been left devastated.

Vickerman played 63 Tests for Australia between 2002 to 2011, including that year's World Cup, in which Australia made the semi-final.

He was forced to prematurely retire in 2012 due to persistent problems with stress fractures in his right leg.

Post-football, Vickerman worked in the real estate and development industry.

Vickerman, born in South Africa's Cape Town, spent time playing and studying as a teenager in England before moving to Australia in 2000 and becoming a favourite at the Sydney University club.

His talents were obvious and he was quickly selected for the Australian under-21s side that year.

The next season he was playing for the Brumbies, who won the Super Rugby premiership that year.

In 2002 he made his debut for the Wallabies in Sydney against France, and the 204cm, 119kg giant became renowned as one of Australia's toughest ever locks over the next decade.

At 28 and in the prime of his career, Vickerman quit the Waratahs, who he joined in 2004, and Wallabies to study a degree in land economics at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

Upon his graduation in 2011, then-Wallabies coach Robbie Deans immediately recalled him to the national side, such was his stature and ability.

Vickerman helped Australia win the Tri-Nations that year and played his final Test match in the semi-final defeat to the All Blacks in Auckland.

Vickerman had remained involved in the game as part of the Sydney Rugby Business Network and helping at Sydney University Rugby Club until last year.

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News Corp Australia

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