Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Vickery Faces 'Beast' Again; Prop Determined to End Lions Career on High Note

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Vickery Faces 'Beast' Again; Prop Determined to End Lions Career on High Note

Article excerpt

PHIL Vickery last night revealed he is looking forward to the third Test against South Africa - his last appearance in a British and Irish Lions jersey - more than any other game of his career.

The Wasps and England prop has reclaimed the tight-head role from the injured Adam Jones and will lock horns again with Tendai "The Beast" Mtawarira, the Springboks loose-head who gave him such a mauling in the Lions' first Test defeat. Vickery, 33, is not only ready for the challenge, but he is determined to sign off both his Lions career and this tour on a high note at Ellis Park.

He said: "I am looking forward to this match more than any other match I have ever played in. It is my last game in a Lions jersey and I want to make sure we go out on a high. It is good to get back out there. Tomorrow is a clean sheet. It is unfortunate for Adam. I am gutted for him, but I have been given an opportunity tomorrow and it is up to me to go out and perform.

"I am thoroughly looking forward to the challenge. It will be a great occasion, there are two teams who have nothing to lose, and hopefully we can sign the tour off in style and with a great deal of credit. I am very proud to be part of this group of people."

Vickery lasted only 44 minutes of the first Test as the Lions' tight-five failed to deal with an unexpected onslaught from the South African pack. "You know you have had a bad game when your mum, your missus and your sister text you to say they still love you," Vickery joked.

Vickery watched from the bench as Jones succeeded in suring up the scrum during the second half in Durban before turning the tables on South Africa in the second Test. The Lions were the dominant scrummaging unit in Pretoria before Jones suffered a dislocated shoulder and Gethin Jenkins fractured his cheekbone, which forced the introduction of uncontested scrums.

Lions forwards coach Warren Gatland believes the manner in which Jones handled the Springboks has spiked Vickery's confidence heading into tomorrow's showdown. "Adam did not think much to the Beast at all and Phil has taken confidence from the way Adam scrummaged," said Gatland. …

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