Flag flies at half mast at Gloucester as club mourns legendary captain Nicholls
16:19 GMT, 24 December 2012
Former Gloucester captain Mike Nicholls has died, the club have announced.
Nicholls made 483 first team appearances for the Cherry and Whites in a career that spanned 17 years, lifting the club's first trophy after a 17-6 victory over Moseley in the final of the 1972 national cup.
Following his retirement as a player, Nicholls served the club as a coach and a member of the committee.
Legend: Former Gloucester captain Mike Nicholls has died
A statement on the club website said: 'Everyone at Gloucester Rugby is saddened to hear of the passing of former captain, and one of the true legends of the club, Mike Nicholls.
'Out of respect for Mike, the Gloucester Rugby flag at Kingsholm is flying at half mast today, and will do so until after the funeral, details of which will be communicated in due course.
'A player who led from the front, the long serving hooker captained Gloucester for three seasons, 1970-71, 1971-72 and then again 1973-74.
'Under his captaincy the team were a formidable unit, not always pretty to watch but very effective.
'Under Mike Nicholls' inspiring leadership the team consistently turned on performances on the big occasions.
'Mike's career was at a pinnacle in the club's centenary season of 1973-74 when his team recorded a club record of 39 wins and scored 1000 points. Their 24-14 win against an International XV in the centenary match is remembered by all who were there.
'The Gloucester playing record during the three years of his captaincy speaks for itself: P154 W107 L35 D9. He is regarded as one of the finest captains the club has known.
'Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.'