Rugby Union: Vickery makes return

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THE ENGLAND prop Phil Vickery began his comeback last night with a 20-minute run-out for Gloucester's second team in a 37-36 win against the Army at Kingsholm.

Vickery, who has won five caps, played the opening quarter as planned as he sets out on the road back to full fitness. A neck injury has denied him a chance to play in any of England's seven Test matches to date this season.

"Everything went according to plan and we are all pleased, myself and the club medical staff," said Vickery, whose last first-team appearance was on 10 October last year.

The 23-year-old, who would be a definite contender for England's World Cup squad this autumn if fully fit, will not be rushed back into senior action, but the early signs against the Army were promising.