Rob Vickerman has seen it all; from the early days of professionalism in England, playing against Jonah Lomu and Brian Lima and leading his national sevens team – the Yorkshire man has quite a tale to tell.
Now a commentator on the sevens circuit, Rob joined us for the second episode of the Players Podcast to chat about his start in Rugby, the sevens game, the future of sevens, retiring at the age of just 29 and the toughest players he’s faced.
Never short of a word, Rob can talk with authority on the sevens code and sees opportunities and dangers to the expansion of the game.
“In terms of the backbone of sevens, there is no real money made – the players certainly don’t make much, the unions don’t make money. Obviously there are a few tournaments that do well, like Hong Kong, but it’s still very embryonic in terms of where it can be commercially.
“That is a wonderful opportunity but, I think, is also a threat at times. If Sevens did get itself together and really looked at how this league could be like an IPL (in cricket)…you’ve got this product and players that is very cheap to run and the commercial potential is phenomenal. You see it with cricket – Venture Capitalists spot where the growth can be and it wouldn’t surprise me if a big backer came along…that would be pretty significant.”
Vickerman is also occupied with his other business, workathlete.com, where he helps companies get the best performances from staff, admitting he was a “shocked office worker” after toiling in corporate firms post-Rugby.
“After retiring, I understood (performance) from a sporting context but actually, it’s a whole different ball game speaking to people who, more often than not, just get by, survive, are happy not to get fired and get their salary every month. So I came up with a concept of how to change that.”
"If people truly knew what those guys were paid, they'd understand that they are supreme PEOPLE, not just Athletes."@robvickerman on the realities for some players when he was on the Sevens Series.
— InternationalRugbyPlayers (@IntRugbyPlayers) November 7, 2018
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