Waratahs to hold Vickerman memorial in South Africa

The Waratahs will be holding their own memorial in South Africa for Dan Vickerman, a man who was a mentor and teammate for many of the NSW players.

While few who played with him in Super Rugby are still at the club, many were connected with the 63-Test lock through Shute Shield club, Sydney Uni.

Waratahs halfback and former Uni player, Nick Phipps, said a handful of players had considered staying in Australia until after the memorial but instead opted to go to Johannesburg with the rest of the squad and stage their own private tribute.

“We’ll be doing something (here),” he said.

“Five or six of us had a chat to Daryl (Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson) and figured out the earliest we could get back here would be Thursday afternoon.

Knowing the big fella, he’d prefer us to be over here working hard, but we’ll do something over here, tomorrow or the next day.

“It’ll be a good experience for us, give us a little bit of closure. There’s only so much you can do.

“Every day’s another step for a lot of players, we want to make sure we respect him in the best way possible.”

Vickerman’s memory has already been honoured by Sydney Uni, with the club replacing the number five jersey with a big ‘V’, in tribute to the 37-year-old.

Australia’s Super Rugby teams observed a moment’s silence for Vickerman in their round one matches and the Waratahs donned black armbands against the Force.

Phipps said the team’s focus was to try and be there for each other, with each person affected, and grieving, in their own way.

“The silver lining is it’s brought the squad quite close together.

“(We need to be) making sure we’re looking after our best friends.”

Dan Vickerman’s public memorial will be held at Sydney Uni Oval. 1 on Wednesday, at 2pm.

A fund has been set up to help support Dan’s wife Sarah and two young sons, Joseph and Xavier.