Austin Healey was suffering from a back spasm and an injury to Rob Howley had left the Lions without any scrum-half back-up to Matt Dawson, who was carrying an injury himself.
At the age of 30, and by his own admission a little out of shape, Nicol was convinced he was the subject of a prank.
Yet once it dawned on the former Bath No.9, he gladly answered the SOS.
"I was convinced it was a wind-up by someone with a comedy Irish accent," recalled Nicol. "And then I realised it really was Donal Lenihan [tour manager] and he was being deadly serious!
"I think the adrenalin would have seen me through the first five or ten minutes but after that I might have struggled - luckily Matt Dawson's body held together."
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