Vickerman looking for victory

2008-05-29 12:45

Christchurch - Waratahs forward Dan Vickerman is drawing on the disappointment of the Wallabies' World Cup quarter-final defeat for inspiration ahead of Saturday's Super 14 rugby final against the Crusaders.

As happy as he is that the Waratahs have reached this season's decider after finishing 13th last year, the 28-year-old second-rower is determined to do everything in his power to ensure the Waratahs don't leave the tournament empty-handed.

"If we can't do it this weekend, it amounts to not much," Vickerman said on Wednesday. "There are no second chances. There wasn't last week. There definitely isn't this week."

Few are better at keeping things in perspective than the South African-born powerhouse, who will play his last game for the Waratahs on Saturday before moving to England later this year.

He played for the Waratahs side that lost the 2005 Super 12 final to the Crusaders in Christchurch and the Brumbies team that lost the 2002 decider to the same opposition at the same venue.

High-stakes match

He says of the approaching challenge at AMI Stadium: "We don't want to die wondering - we have been able to build quite well during the season and we have played some good rugby and some not so good rugby. The aim is to play our best game of football for 80 minutes. Hopefully [then] we will be in the best position to win the game."

If the Waratahs win, it will be a far cry from the previous time Vickerman played in such a high-stakes match - against England in Marseilles last year. The pain of that loss still runs deep.

"I just don't want to be in that position again. That was a really hard couple of weeks after," he said. "That is sport. You have to get over those little hurdles, and getting over them is part of the experience.

"We have done that. It was unfortunate and I don't want to go through that experience again. But we [the Waratahs] are now in a position to play good rugby for 80 minutes. That is what we intend to do."

Vickerman, who has played the Crusaders twice this year already and many times over the years, says he has learned what to expect from the six-time Super champions.

After their pre-season clash, the Crusaders won the next match, in round six, 34-7. It was an exhausting, defence-oriented effort. "You pretty much know what you are going to get when you play the Crusaders," he said. "You know it is going to be a physical, fast and hard game of football. It is going to be unrelenting for 80 minutes."

Some may say the result is nearly always the same, too. The Waratahs have beaten the Crusaders only once in Christchurch - in 2004. However, that was a day match in round one. Still, it shows the Crusaders are fallible at home.

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