Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper has shared his memories of former teammate Dan Vickerman who passed away in the weekend, saying the lock was a protector of the younger players in the squad.
Cooper played alongside Vickerman at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
"He had such a presence on and off the field," Cooper he told the Courier Mail.
"He took myself, Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor under his wing a fair bit. He was like a protector for us, even at training.
"We looked up to him - it's quite devastating to get told the news yesterday. It hit us pretty close to home. The rugby community is going to miss him.
Cooper urged his 471,000 Twitter followers to "check in and ask #RUOK" even if friends did not seem to be struggling in their life.
"Guys shouldn't be afraid to reach out for help. It's a tough world out there," Cooper said.
SPORTING COMMUNITY REACTS
Rugby players, former rugby league players and cricketers all expressed their sadness at news of Vickerman's passing.
Former Waratahs and Australia teammate Phil Waugh had only positive things to say about his good friend.
"We all have huge admiration for the guy that he was," Waugh said, per Fairfax Media. "He was one of those players when you're standing next to him in the change room and he's running out next to you, you had so much confidence.
"He's a guy that necessarily wasn't the loudest in the team, but had the most respect from everyone playing with him. There's so many positive memories of him on and off the field."
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