We'll do everything we can to honour John's memory - Wood
GLOUCESTER will target a successful season as the best possible tribute to John Brain, pledges Nick Wood.
The powerful loosehead prop believes the Gloucester squad are motivated to scale new heights in the coming campaign in order to pay due heed to their late rugby operations manager.
Wood admits Gloucester will have a massive job on their hands to fill Brain's boots at Kingsholm.
The 29-year-old hailed Brain's startling Cherry and Whites contribution, on the day of his funeral at Gloucester Cathedral.
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Wood believes Gloucester will miss not only Brain's coaching and administration acumen – but also his dry wit and deep affinity with all things Cherry and White.
Brain racked up nearly 300 appearances for his hometown club, before coaching alongside Phillipe Saint-Andre.
The uncompromising lock guided Worcester to the Premiership for the first time as director of rugby, before taking up the forwards coaching duties at Bristol. Brain returned to Gloucester as a scout in December 2010, before assuming the operations manager and scrum coaching roles in the summer of 2011.
Wood hailed Brain's work with the Cherry and Whites' scrummage, citing Rupert Harden's England elevation as proof positive the former Gloucester Trading Standards man has improved the Kingsholm club's set-piece play.
New director of rugby Nigel Davies is busy planning the set-up of his backroom staff, to add to forwards coach Carl Hogg.
And Wood admits Brain will be tough to replace.
Wood explained: "We'll miss not only what he had achieved as a player and as a character and personality around the city.
"But we'll also miss him as a scrum coach, scout, operations manager, and just everything else he could get his hands on that he did without shouting about it.
"The amount of work he got through was enormous, and to an extraordinary level of detail.
"It's going to be hard to fill his shoes, and it will be a big old task.
"I think it's good that Gloucester took their time about recruiting Nigel Davies, and that is a big positive because they have got the right guy.
"And I think they will have to do the same for Brainer's role too.
"They will certainly need to fill it."
Revealing a typically-frank conversation with Brain last year, Wood said the scrum coach left the Gloucester front-rowers in no doubt of the size of the task ahead of them last year.
The likes of Harden and Darren Dawidiuk were dismissed in some quarters last year.
Brain told them not to be surprised – but to prove the doubters wrong.
Wood admits that conversation in last year's pre-season will live long in the memory, and continue to drive him and his Gloucester pack colleagues forward for some time to come.
He continued: "We definitely want to be successful moving forward in John's memory.
"That's a massive driver.
"For the guys he has helped bring through, like Rupert, his inclusion in the summer tour is testament to Brainer and all the work he's done.
"We had a conversation with Brainer at the start of the year, the front-rowers sat down and he said, 'No one knows who any of you are, none of you are internationals.'
"And that was pretty humbling to have that put on a plate, but he was right.
"Duke (Darren Dawidiuk) and Rupert, I think those comments were initially aimed at them.
"But I think those two have proved themselves massively.
"For Duke to hold Scotty (Lawson) out for as long as he did was a huge compliment for Darren.
"And Rupert as well, to have come through from sitting behind Paul Doran-Jones and having had hardly any game time before that, to have moved on the way he has, that's a huge result.
"John's angle was very much, 'Use it to your advantage, stick with me and I'll get you there.'
"And sure enough, Rupert is on the tour – and everyone knows his name now."