IF ENGLISH football estimated Martin Peters to have been ten years ahead of his time, English rugby would have said Ivor Oakes was 20 years ahead.
Fifty years ago, every club had its bucket-and-sponge man but only Gloucester had a trainer like Ivor. As captain, the late Mike Nicholls recognised the need for someone to work on raising fitness.
Bricklayer Oakes’ old-fashioned methods made some of Gloucester’s tough nuts all the tougher but not before he had them trembling at the knees. Mike Burton acknowledges him as ‘a legendary figure’.
“He’d meet me every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday eve...
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