Vickery going for Gold
Tighthead prop looking for Lions to take things up a notch
Last Updated: 02/06/09 10:24pm
Phil Vickery admits the British and Irish Lions will have to raise their game against Super 14 outfit the Golden Lions on Wednesday.
The England prop helped Ian McGeechan's side stage a late comeback to beat Highfeld XV in their opening tour match in South Africa at the weekend.
But after the low-key opener Vickery, who was an integral member of the England team that finished runners up to South Africa in the 2007 World Cup, knows his side is in for a much sterner test.
"The level of expectation is going to rise from this game onwards because there was so much going on in South Africa up to last weekend with the Bulls playing in the Super 14 final and then the announcement of the Springbok squad," he said.
"Now the focus will be firmly on the Lions and the Test series and it is up to us to not just talk about what we can do, but to make sure we do it on the field.
"We are going to embrace the challenge and do our very best and, whatever happens, make sure that when we return home people are proud of what we've done."
Vickery feels the International Rugby Board's (IRB) decision to stop players from legally pulling down driving mauls could also have a big impact on the series.
"I'm glad to see the driving maul back in the game and it is going to become a key part of the tour as we develop," Vickery added.
"It is a totally different mind set again. Line-outs are no longer just a means to get the ball back and get into your patterns of play.
"Now we have to start thinking about what we are doing at line-out time. The ELV allowing players to pull down the maul changed the game.
"Now it is back. Saturday's game brought back a few memories. It's a great part of the game and one which I was sad to see go. It is something to look forward to and we have to go back and re-learn the skills again."