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Philip John Vickery MBE (born 14 March 1976) is an English rugby union tighthead prop and member of the England squad. He was a member of England's World Cup winning squad in 2003, playng in all seven matches in the tournament, and is a former England captain. Vickery plays his club rugby for Waspsmarker, joining the London side in 2006 after eleven years with Gloucester. Given the nickname Raging Bull, he has played in three Rugby World Cups, including as England captain in the 2007 tournament, and toured Australia and South Africa with the British and Irish Lions.

Early Years

The son of a dairy farmer, Vickery was born to Cornish parents in Barnstaplemarker, Devonmarker, and says he is proud to be a Cornishman and an Englishman. Educated at Budehaven School, his interest in sport developed as a youngster, and by age 12 he started playing rugby. By the age of 16 he gained his first National Representative honour, being picked for the England Schools U16s group.

Vickery left school age 16 and worked as a herdsman on his parents' farm. He remains a qualified cattle inseminator.

Vickery has an Oriental tattoo on his left shoulder which roughly translates to "I'll fight you to the death", and a bulldog tattoo on his right.

Career

He started with the Cornish club Bude, then moved to Redruth , during which time he first appeared in an England Colts side. In 1995, England 'A' coach Richard Hill persuaded the 19 year old Phil Vickery to join Gloucester Rugby, where he became known as "The Raging Bull" which is also the name of his highly successful and ever growing clothing company Raging Bull [74849] which specialises in On the Field sportswear for Clubs/Schools and Universities as well as High Street leisurewear which can be bought online as well as found in High and Mighty stores up and down the country as well as many other independent retailers.

His representative career went from strength to strength, with appearances for England U21s and Colts in the 1996-97 season.

In April 2006 he announced he was quitting Gloucester Rugby after 11 years and signed for Waspsmarker in a 3 year deal. Vickery made his Waspsmarker debut in their 23 - 13 win over London Irish on 8 October 2006.

Representative career

Vickery made his England debut against Wales aged 21 on 21 February 1998, coming off the bench to replace Darren Garforth against Wales at Twickenham in the Five Nations tournament, a match England won 60-26. It was the completion of a rapid rise through the England set-up, after only 34 first team games for his club and just 81 days after his England A debut.

The Tour from Hell

Summer 1998 saw Vickery taking part in the tour of the Southern Hemisphere, part of an England squad which had been severely weakened by injury and player unavailability. In the space of a month, England were soundly defeated by Australia (76-0 in Brisbane on 6 June), twice by New Zealand (64-22 in Dunedin on 20 June and 40-10 in Auckland on 27 June) and finally by South Africa (18-0 in Cape Town on 4 July). There were also losses to New Zealand 'A', New Zealand Rugby Academy, and New Zealand Māori.

The tour had benefits for some players, bringing through future stars of the England side such as Vickery himself, Jonny Wilkinson, Danny Grewcock, Graham Rowntree, Austin Healey, Matt Dawson and Matt Perry, others effectively had their international careers ended. Steve Ravenscroft, Rob Fidler, Jos Baxendell, Spencer Brown and Tom Beim each gained two caps on the tour – and have not played for England since. Richard Pool-Jones, Scott Benton, Dominic Chapman and Stuart Potter only played once for England, on the Tour From Hell.

Vickery recovered from a neck injury in April 1999 and played in that year’s Rugby World Cup. A shoulder injury, however, kept him out of the 2000 South Africa tour. Vickery toured Australia with the British and Irish Lions in 2001 and played in all three tests.

Vickery was appointed captain of the England squad that toured Argentinamarker in 2002. With many of the top players rested, Vickery led the side to victory against The Pumas in Buenos Airesmarker.

Vickery missed the 2003 Six Nations tournament because of a back injury, but having returned to the team he did well for England on the road to the 2003 World Cup. He played in all seven games in the tournament and captained the side against Uruguay. He scored his first international try when he came off the bench against Samoa in England’s third game of the tournament.

A rib injury prevented him from captaining the non capped match against the New Zealand Barbarians in December 2003. Although he took a full part in the 2004 Six Nations, another back operation in May ruled him out of the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia. He returned to rugby only in late October 2004.

Making his international comeback, he came on as a replacement against South Africa for the first Autumn Test between the two sides on 18 November 2006. After playing well, he drove over to score the winning try, which was converted by Andy Goode, and England won their first game since February that month.

He was selected on January 2 by new England Head Coach Brian Ashton to captain the side during the 2007 Six Nations and 2007 Rugby World Cup. He was one of only four players to have started both the 2003 and 2007 RWC Finals, the other three being Jonny Wilkinson, Jason Robinson and Ben Kay.

Also, on January 8 2008 he was selected in the squad for the 2008 Six Nations Championship by Brian Ashton. He played every game except for the 23-19 win over Italy which he missed through injury.

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