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Tahs to honour Vickerman in Africa: Phipps

NZN 28/02/2017 Darren Walton

Grieving NSW Waratahs plan to pay their respects to Dan Vickerman from South Africa after making the tough call to miss their former teammate's memorial service in Sydney.

Hundreds from the Australian rugby community are expected to celebrate Vickerman's life on Wednesday following the shock death of the 37-year-old former Wallabies lock nine days ago.

Halfback Nick Phipps was among a handful who played with Vickerman at club, state and national level with Sydney University, the Waratahs and Wallabies.

But Phipps and the others will be unable to attend Wednesday's service while on Super Rugby duty in Vickerman's native South Africa.

"We'll be doing something," Phipps said on Tuesday ahead of the Tahs' round-two clash with 2016 finalists the Lions in Johannesburg early on Sunday morning (AEDT).

"(It was) an extremely difficult decision to sort of make. There were about five or six of us that had a chat to (coach) Daryl (Gibson) and we sort of figured out that the very earliest that we could get back over here would be Thursday afternoon.

"We sort of made the decision knowing the big fella, he'd probably prefer us to be over here working hard early.

"So we made the idea that we're going to try to have something over here either tomorrow or the next day just to remember the big fella in our own way.

"That'll be a good experience for us and be able to sort of give a little bit of closure before we lead into the weekend."

Phipps said Vickerman's death had hit hard.

"There's only so much you can do. Every day it's another step for a lot of players who are remembering such a great man and for us we want to make sure we respect him and remember him (in) the best way possible and we believe that's on the footy field.

"There's different sort of coping methods for a few players that are quite strong, but I think a silver lining is it's brought the squad close together.

"It gave us the opportunity to really get around some blokes who were battling for a little bit and also to open the conversation to a lot of different players and making sure that we're looking after our best friends."

Vickerman's memorial service will take place at 2pm at Sydney University's No.1 Oval before a wake is held in the TAG Foundation Grandstand on Oval No.2.

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