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Gloucester Rugby: Tindall reckons he still has plenty to offer

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 24, 2014

Mike Tindall reckons he still has plenty to offer

MIKE Tindall’s future at Gloucester remains up in the air but the evergreen centre insists he has plenty left in the tank.

The former England captain is out of contract at the end of the season and is yet to be offered a new deal to remain in his player-coach role at Kingsholm.

But Tindall, 35, is still “loving” his rugby, his current form would indeed testify to that, and he remains relaxed about what the future holds.

He said: “It’s a difficult one, I still want to play and be involved as much as I can in terms of the playing department.

“I still love pulling on the jersey and getting out there but there’s a fine balance and I’m having little chats with Nigel (Davies) and Alex (Brown) about what’s best for the whole team.

“That’s the best thing about myself and the Gloucester management, we could do it in a day.

“I still feel I can play at this level and deserve to be out there. I’m loving my rugby at the moment.

“I’ve always said when I find it hard to get up and go to training and not look forward to playing that’s when I know it’s time to stop but that’s not the case at the moment.

“But it’s great to go into work and see all the young guys we have and how they want to play the game.

“There’s not a lot I can teach them technically but I just try to help them with my experiences, making the right decisions in the right areas.

“What excites me is you could potentially have a whole England back-line made of Gloucester players, that’s ideally what we want and although it’s not what the fans want, especially around internationals, it’s where we want to be.

“I know how much talent this team has got, we haven’t shown it enough this season but I’m enjoying things.

“If you’re enjoying it, you will play well, I’m doing that and as long as that’s the case I will keep going.”

With Gloucester already losing Olly Morgan, Andy Hazell and Akapusi Qera this season, and Will James due to retire at the end of the campaign, there could be a shortage of experience at Kingsholm.

The likes of inbound Richard Hibbard and John Afoa will go some way to rectifying that but the presence of Tindall, somebody that knows and understands the club, will be invaluable.

Tindall made his 200th Premiership appearance in the victory over Harlequins, a phenomenal achievement when you account for his 75 England caps.

But the 35-year-old reckons his achievement pales into insignificance in comparison to those of Hazell.

The Cherry and Whites honoured the flanker on Saturday, with the club legend leading the teams out before being treated to a video tribute and presented with the Medallion of the City of Gloucester by Mayor Chris Chatterton and city council leader Paul James at half-time.

And Tindall was delighted to toast the occasion with a well-earned victory.

He said: “It was all about the win and Hazey. One of the reasons I joined the club was because of people like him and if anyone encompasses the ethos of Gloucester and how we pride ourselves it is Andy Hazell.

“He’s a phenomenal bloke and on the pitch he was an incredible competitor.

“It was a shame he had to end it earlier than he liked but we wish him all the best and I know he will still be a massive part of the club and still influencing local players. The game’s professional and sometimes you lose some of those traditional values but Gloucester are doing a very good job of keeping those local players.

“To have guys like Hazey and Olly Morgan around the club is great because they understand what it means to play for the club and it’s important the younger guys understand that.”

The only negative from Saturday for Tindall was Gloucester’s failure to secure a try-scoring bonus-point. They had several opportunities to secure a maximum points haul but lost their composure in a nervous finale.

But Tindall insists the Cherry and Whites can take plenty of confidence from the performance and have nothing to fear ahead of their trip to league leaders Northampton Saints on Saturday.

“The way we’ve played recently has been a real positive, obviously there was bitter disappointing last week (against Leicester) because we deserved more but the agony of that pushed us on against Harlequins.

“I would have liked to have got four tries so there’s disappointment out there as well. We were good enough to get the bonus-point but we missed a couple of opportunities but a win’s a win and we need to build on these performances.

“We’re focusing on performances at the moment and that was so much better than what we have seen previously. If we keep performing like that we will get better, score more tries and get more results.

“Northampton are a spectacular team at the moment, even with the amount of men they have lost and Franklin’s Gardens gives us a chance to attack. Everyone will expect us to lose but we can go up there buoyed on what we did at Welford Road and the result against Harlequins.”

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