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Gloucester Rugby: Passionate support makes Bath match so huge, says Mike Tindall

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

  • Mike Tindall

  • THEN AND NOW: A fresh-faced Mike Tindall in action for Bath against London Irish in December 2000

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CLASS warfare between Gloucester and Bath is great banter but the old rivals are two sides of the same coin, believes Mike Tindall.

World Cup winner Tindall rates the West Country derby among the greatest in this land.

And having experienced the phenomenon from either side of the fence, England's most-capped centre thinks both clubs understand what makes them tick – the supporters.

He explained: "That supposed difference between the clubs, that's just been built up through banter through the fans.

"Both clubs are built up around their supporters which makes them very similar in some respects.

"The passion comes from that as well.

"Everyone wants it to be competitive and physical. It normally turns out that way and they are normally cracking games.

"You jump on board with all of it, supporters are hugely important to any club.

"Both clubs know how passionate and knowledgeable their fans are."

Otley-born Tindall joined Bath straight from school, and in his eight years at The Rec he progressed to club and country mainstay, lifting the World Cup in 2003.

By the time he crossed the great divide in 2005 he believes the stigma around switching allegiance had lifted, thanks mainly to Rob Fidler.

John Fidler's son swapped Gloucester for Bath in 2003 after nine years and more than 250 games in Cherry and White.

Tindall loved his time at Bath, but saw a collective spirit at Kingsholm – and he still reckons it has lived up to his hopes and expectations.

He continued: "As soon as Fids did it, we were all, all right!

"I still don't believe Fids' dad talks to him, but still.

"This is my eighth season here, and looking forward, Kingsholm's become part of me.

"I've always said that club rugby is the best thing about the sport, it's your everyday, it's where your heart and head should always be."

Gearing up for Saturday's LV=Cup Bath clash at Kingsholm (kick-off 2pm), Tindall said both clubs approach the derby the same way.

He said: "The West Country derby is one of the standout great games of the Premiership, the local rivalry between the two clubs.

"Bath are still alive in this competition, but we've got to make sure we're firing on all cylinders going back into the Premiership the following week.

"You know they will send a strong team, we're fielding a very strong team too.

"Leicester-Northampton and Gloucester-Bath are the two big local rivalries and that hasn't really changed.

"It's the same both ways, from my experiences, at Bath we had always had a proud record against Gloucester.

"But now I've been here it's always Bath and how much the Shed wants to see Bath lose."

Two derbies stick out in Tindall's memory: both landmarks.

The 34-year-old still laments Gloucester's 24-18 Tetley's Bitter Cup win in November 2000, then the Cherry and Whites' first victory at The Rec in 29 years.

But he will never forget Gloucester's 18-3 triumph at the same ground in October 2010 – just a second league win at Bath in 23 years then too.

Two consecutive league doubles and a Premiership home win already this term now put Gloucester in derby control, but Tindall still believes attitude far outweighs record and expectation.

Tindall added: "That first loss in forever for Bath at home, that was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

"But now on the reverse of that, I played for Gloucester when we started getting regular wins down there.

"The press had written us off but our brand of hard, physical rugby, it was great.

"You've got to arrive with the right attitude, and if you do you can get the result.

"It had rained a lot through the day but stopped for the night.

"I remember being in a huddle on the pitch and us saying, 'There's no way we're losing this game', and at no point did I think we would.

"Every win has its merits on its own, but certain games set certain things in motion, they give you belief – we have a chance to build some of that this weekend."

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12 comments

  • werew  |  January 31 2013, 8:14PM

    Rupert Harden rules in the tight head position and dominates in the scrum. Let's hope he is fit for the weekend against Bath and then, more importantly, against Saints. We don't want our scrum going backwards like it has been for the past few weeks or being destroyed like it was in the first 50 minutes at Welford Road..

    |   6
  • garthshawX  |  January 31 2013, 8:07PM

    Nigel Davies certainly knew what he was doing when he made Rupert Harden his top rated tight-head. Rupert is quite simple outstanding and without doubt Gloucester's best tight-head.

    |   5
  • RoccoAgain  |  January 31 2013, 8:05PM

    We need Rupert Harden back fit and available; of that there is no doubt. He is the first choice tight head; of that there is no doubt either.

    |   6
  • Archie_Brew  |  January 31 2013, 8:02PM

    Rupert Harden = Gloucester Rugby's top rated tight head and there is no doubt about that whatsoever.

    |   5
  • starturn  |  January 31 2013, 8:00PM

    Rupert Harden is Gloucester Rugby's top tight head. He is ND's go to man for the key games.

    |   5
  • mattw74  |  January 31 2013, 7:52PM

    I'm looking forward to Rupert's recovery and his return to bolster the front row. I guess in the meantime we will just have to struggle on with a weakened scrum.

    |   6
  • seanbulling  |  January 31 2013, 7:50PM

    I am really looking forward to when our top rated tight head prop - Rupert Harden - returns from injury to bring the scrum back up to strength.

    |   5
  • s_sorca  |  January 31 2013, 7:49PM

    Rupert may be out injured but he will be back and Nigel Davies, who happens to know about these things, will return Rupert to the starting line up where he belongs because he is Gloucester's best front row player.

    |   6
  • Steve_George  |  January 31 2013, 7:47PM

    If we are really fortunate, Rupert Harden will be back for the Saints' gamebefore too much damage is done. You can't leave out your best tight head and one of Gloucester's key players when he is fit.

    |   5
  • RubenHall  |  January 31 2013, 1:37PM

    I think everyone knows that the multi-ID flanker_6 will not be at Kingsholm as he never goes to any games. As for him having a drink, isn't that illegal at his age?

    |   6

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