Former England rugby union captain Phil Vickery will be the star guest at the Grand Theatre on Thursday, February 3.
Capped 73 times by his country, the prop was part of Clive Woodward’s England side which famously won the 2003 World Cup.
Captained by Martin Johnson, the Three Lions lifted the Webb Ellis trophy when they defeated hosts nation Australia in Sydney thanks to Jonny Wilkinson’s last-ditch drop goal.
Twice a British & Irish Lion, Vickery also went on to skipper his country at the 2007 World Cup where unfortunately they could not repeat the exploits of four years earlier as they lost to South Africa in the final.
Vickery, who played for Gloucester and London Wasps during his career, actively remains involved in the sport through coaching and commentating following retirement.
His views are regularly sought by the media and he writes regular columns for the national press.
He also made the headlines when he won Celebrity Masterchef in 2011.
Vickery said: “I am delighted but perhaps a little flattered that people want to meet me and ask questions,” said Phil.
“That is one of the reasons behind this theatre tour, it is an opportunity for me to get out there and spend time with people I might not otherwise meet.
“I am never tired of talking about rugby which is why I still do a lot of TV and other media work.
“Rugby is just a fantastic game and more and more people around the world are coming to understand.
“There are countries playing rugby now who are still quite new to the sport but they are bringing some great talent with them. It is very exciting to be involved in rugby now, at all levels.
“Let us not forget that it all begins with grass roots rugby, the small clubs that have been going for generations and still retain that special family tradition.
“Then there are the schools who do an amazing job in introducing youngsters both boys and girls to the sport.
This is where it all starts – in the schools and the club academies and they are alive and well, strong roots in a strong sport.”
The subject of England’s World Cup triumph in 2011 is never off the agenda.
“People like to ask about that – and why not? It was a proud moment for all of us whether out there on the pitch or sitting at home on the other side of the world watching it on TV,” said Vickery.
“You would think that every question that could have been asked has been asked but it isn’t like that – there are still unusual questions. I never mind reliving what was one of the greatest highlights of my life.”
Another highlight was winning TV’s Celebrity Masterchef, also in 2011.
“That was another moment when things went right,” he said Phil. “Ask anyone who cooks anything and they will tell you that one little mistake can make it all go wrong so to try and cook something special with cameras peering over your shoulder can be quite daunting.
“I had always loved cooking and when I was asked about going on Masterchef I didn’t really hesitate.”
“I knew it was not going to be easy but I have always been the kind of person who likes a challenge.
“In a rugby match you are challenged every few seconds so you kind of get used to it. You almost get used to the bruises too but if something in the kitchen goes wrong the bruises are mostly to your pride and hope rather than your legs.”
Vickery’s appearance in Lancaster comes just a few days before the start of this year’s Six Nations tournament.
“Although I am an ex-England international I am still a huge fan of England and the sport and I am hopeful that the Six Nations competition is going to be something special for England but whatever happens, we shall have plenty to talk about.”
An Audience with Phil Vickery MBE will start at 7-30pm and tickets cost £24. They are available from Lancaster Grand Box Office by contacting 01524 64695 or visiting the website https://lancastergrand.co.uk/shows/an-audience-with-phil-vickery-mbe/.
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