Lancaster backs new England Sevens captain
New England head coach Stuart Lancaster has paid tribute to Rob Vickerman after the former Leeds Carnegie and Newcastle Falcons centre was named England Sevens captain.
Vickerman was appointed by England Sevens head coach Ben Ryan to lead the side in the remaining two legs of this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series – the Glasgow Sevens and the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham on May 12-13.
Lancaster recruited the teenaged Vickerman while at Leeds and described the 26 year-old as an 'outstanding professional in both forms of the game'.
“I’d like to congratulate Rob on his appointment and wish him, Ben Ryan and the England Sevens players and management the best for the final two legs of the series," said Lancaster.
“I started working with Rob when he was a teenager at the Leeds Academy. He was and still is one of the best players I have coached with an intuitive understanding of time and space on a rugby field. He has developed into an outstanding professional in both forms of the game, first at Leeds, then at Newcastle Falcons and now as a full-time sevens player with England.
“He’s a great communicator on and off the field, someone who leads by example and I’m sure he’ll be a great ambassador for England Rugby.”
Vickerman banked more than 50 top-flight appearances for Leeds and Newcastle before joining England’s full-time sevens squad.
He accepted the captaincy honour by singling out Lancaster’s influence and added that his mentor's success as England head coach came as no surprise to him.
“Stuart’s a person who was never going to end up anywhere other than where he is now,” said Vickerman. “He’s a real leader of men, he’s very aware of how he manages and of his principles he’s learned at Leeds and with the RFU.
“He’s helped me in leaps and bounds and has been one of the most influential people in my life, not just my career, so it’s great to see him doing well.
“There was no doubt in my mind that he would succeed with England. To anyone who has worked with him and knows his philosophies in terms of the culture in the team, it’s no surprise.
“Sevens is a completely different format from 15s and it’s far more about seven people leading on the pitch, 12 leading in the squad and then a wider squad of 20 performing week-in, week-out in training.
“The captaincy is a great honour and something I know my family will be very proud of but it takes nothing away from what we are looking to achieve as a team,” he said.
“It’s a lovely accolade for my family more than anything else and it’s going to make no difference to the way I play."
London Sevens Tickets
You can buy tickets for the Marriott London Sevens via RFU.com, with weekend tickets from £30, with single day tickets from £18 and kids tickets from £5 each day.