Planet Rugby

Tindall hangs up his boots

15th July 2014 08:24

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MIKE TINDALL GLOUCESTER

Mike Tindall during the Aviva Premiership match between London Irish and Gloucester at the Madejski Stadium on December 29, 2013 in Reading, England.

Gloucester centre and former England captain Mike Tindall has announced his retirement from the game.

Tindall's contract at the Kingsholm-based club was up for renewal at the end of the 2013/14 season and he was not offered a new deal by David Humphreys, who replaced nigel Davies as Gloucester's new director of rugby.

Tindall's announcement means he is the final member of England's World Cup-winning team of 2003 to retire.

Although he had ambitions to continue as Gloucester's back-line coach next season, the appointment of former England U20 coach Nick Walshe as the Cherry and Whites' new backs and attack coach meant there was no room for him at the club.

Tindall decided to retire from the game in search of media opportunities instead of seeking a position at another Premiership club.

"I could play two more years if I really wanted to but club rugby is a very special thing for me, it's what I love about the game," he told the Gloucester Citizen.

"International rugby and the Lions are great but club rugby is your bread and butter and dictates where you go in your life.

"You have to buy into that. I always wanted to be a one-club man but that didn't happen. But I was very lucky to be at two great clubs in Gloucester and Bath.

"Obviously Gloucester is closer to my heart because of the way it finished and I was here for a year longer.

"And I want to thank them both for all they have done for me.

"I had to ask myself if I wanted to go and play somewhere else.

"Can you get emotionally attached to another club?

"Because that is the pull of club rugby for me.

"I don't think you can. I always say 'never say never' but I wouldn't have thought I will be back.

"You have to face the big bad world sometime and now is the right time to do that."

The 35-year-old will be working as a pundit for BBC 5Live, TalkSport and potentially Sky Sports and BT Sport.

But the decision to retire was not easy for Tindall, who made his professional debut for Bath in 1997. He made 85 appearances for them before moving to Gloucester in 2005 where he played 131 games.

The 75-Test veteran believes the time is right to step away from the sport.

"If I was honest, I did enjoy the player/coach role but at the same time it would be too easy to chase a coaching role," he added.

"As soon as Nigel left I knew it would be very difficult as my contract had run out and my coaching experience was limited.

"I was always fully aware what might end up happening and as soon as they signed David Humphreys I knew.

"But after 17 years in the game playing it's very easy to think you have to stay in that environment.

"But now what this has given me is an opportunity to have a year away from that and have a look at what else is out there.

"I will go to games at Gloucester and I will still be a fan.

"It's been a great club, the fans have been brilliant, we have some good banter and it's been a great part of my life since 2005.

"The fans have been very welcoming and the last few years after England have been even better, when you just concentrate on playing for Gloucester.

"It's been a real pleasure and hopefully with the very strong squad they have now they can do well next season.

"It's a little bit daunting going into something where I am out of my comfort zone but at the same time it is exciting."

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