Gloucester's greatest captain ever

The consensus was confirmed last week: Mike Nicholls is Gloucester’s greatest-ever captain.

Gloucester Cathedral was packed for the ex-Kingsholm hooker’s funeral.

Our entire playing squad attended – and the service was pretty inspirational.

Mike was 72 when he died just before Christmas.

I had never seen him play of course, but had heard general stories about him during my time at the club.

But when Gloucester, England and Lions legend Mike Burton says he is the best captain he ever had, you listen.

Robin Cowling – now Exeter Chiefs team manager – and Burton were Nicholls’ props when Gloucester won the inaugural 1972 RFU knockout cup.

Both men spoke at the funeral: the stories they told and the eulogies they gave were extremely humbling.

I found it very inspiring that a guy that captained the club all that time ago can still command that kind of turnout.

The respect in which Mike Nicholls is held is immense.

The sheer number and calibre of people who attended said it all.

It is just so humbling to be captain of Gloucester, and follow in the footsteps of great men, and Kingsholm legends like that.

The fact I am leaving in the summer has been widely documented, but I will always be proud to have captained this club.

Whatever happens next, it is an achievement that will always rank right up there in my rugby career.

It sounds weird to say, but it’s also one that can never be taken away from you.

Being Gloucester captain drives me on to want to be successfu

l for the club, my team-mates – and mainly for the city and the s

When you see how much so many people have given to this club over such a long time, it just confirms a lot of feelings.

Week on week everything happens so quickly it’s important to reflect, and this was a good chance.

Not many people have the opportunity we are lucky enough to have in front of us at Gloucester.

Mike Nicholls’ funeral put that into stark perspective: we’re putting everything into delivering silverware.

Read the Living Rugby Voltage Ranking to find out where Gloucester are after the last round of european rugby matches.


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