Mike Tindall: Last of World Cup winners retires

WORLD Cup winner Mike Tindall has admitted he will not seek an immediate switch to full-time coaching after retiring from professional rugby.

Mike Tindall sends Australias George Gregan flying with a tackle during the 2003 Rugby World Cup final. Picture: AP

Former England captain Tindall has confirmed his retirement after 17 years of top-flight action, the 35-year-old rejecting the chance to seek a move away from Gloucester.

Tindall admitted rugby director Nigel Davies’ sacking at the end of last season left his chances of a new contract at Kingsholm limited.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Gloucester have since recruited rugby director David Humphreys and a new backroom staff, leaving no place for Tindall to continue his player/coaching role.

“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,” said Tindall. “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 some time and now is the right time to do that.”

The Otley-born centre racked up 75 caps for England including helping Sir Clive Woodward’s side to the 2003 World Cup triumph.

Tindall has now become the final member of that 2003 World Cup squad to confirm his retirement from rugby. Former Bath and Gloucester team-mate Iain Balshaw retired earlier this summer, with Jonny Wilkinson also closing out his career with a Heineken Cup-French Top 14 double at Toulon.

Tindall was pivotal to England’s Grand Slam victory in 2003, but later found himself in hot water in a wretched 2011 World Cup campaign in New Zealand.

England’s disappointing performance in 2011 led to coach Martin Johnson’s exit and the end of Tindall’s international career, after he was resoundingly criticised for a night out during the tournament.

Tindall said he will now seek media work with BT Sport and BBC Radio 5 Live rather than chase a full-time coaching role.

“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,” said Tindall, who spent nine years at Gloucester.

“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 [new director of rugby] 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. 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.”

Former Gloucester, Bath and England team-mate Balshaw said Tindall offered the kind of grit any top-level player would want alongside him.

“He’s had a huge impact on the English game,” said the 35-year-old.

“Everyone talks about him bulldozing players, but he was fantastic in defence and had a great kicking game.

“He was a guy that if you were to pick someone in your team, he would be there.

“I can’t think of many players that put their body on the line the way he did. He’s had an outstanding career.”


MIKE Tindall has become the last of England’s 2003 World Cup winners to hang up his boots. Here’s a look at what the men who beat Australia 20-17 in Sydney on 22 November, 2003 are doing now.

JOSH LEWSEY: Now head of rugby at the Welsh Rugby Union. British and Irish Lion Lewsey retired in 2011 after stints with Bristol and Wasps. The 37-year-old climbed Mount Everest in 2010.

JASON ROBINSON: The rugby league convert is best remembered for his try in the World Cup final, but now works on grassroots projects for the RFU while also being a director of companies XBlades and Proskins.

MIKE TINDALL: Won 75 caps and spent eight years at Bath followed by nine at Gloucester. The 35-year-old will now seek media work rather than full-time coaching.

WILL GREENWOOD: The former Lions, Leicester and Harlequins centre fronts Sky TV’s School of Hard Knocks programme with Scott Quinnell, aimed at using rugby to help unemployed youths out of trouble.

BEN COHEN: England’s third-highest try-scorer retired in 2011 and is now chairman of The Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation, launched to help combat bullying in the UK.

JONNY WILKINSON: The man who dropped the winning goal against Australia in 2003, Wilkinson retired after securing a Heineken Cup-French Top 14 double with Toulon last season. The 35-year-old has joined Toulon’s back-room staff as kicking and skills coach.

MATT DAWSON: Has been a team captain on A Question of Sport since 2004, and works as a pundit for the BBC. The former Northampton and Wasps scrum-half retired in 2006, with 77 England caps and six Test appearances for the British Lions.

TREVOR WOODMAN: Loosehead prop was forced to retire prematurely at the age of 29 due to back injuries. Now scrum coach at former club Gloucester.

STEVE THOMPSON: Based in Dubai since retirement in 2011, working as an ambassador for the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation. The hooker initially retired due to neck trouble in 2007, only to reverse the decision and continued his international career until the 2011 World Cup, winning 73 caps.

PHIL VICKERY: Combative tighthead prop now runs a successful sportswear firm. Neck injuries forced him to retire in 2010 after stints with Gloucester and Wasps, before he moved into coaching at Worcester. The 38-year-old won Celebrity Masterchef in 2011.

MARTIN JOHNSON: England’s talismanic captain moved into a disastrous stint as national coach, culminating in a lacklustre tour to New Zealand in 2011. The Leicester Tigers stalwart coached England from 2008 to 2011, but failed to transfer his feared on-field reputation into management. Now focuses on media work and public speaking.

BEN KAY: The Leicester second row got away with bungling a sure-fire try by dropping the ball over the whitewash in the 2003 final against Australia. Now works as one of BT Sport’s main rugby analysts.

RICHARD HILL: England’s silent assassin, the flanker now works in business development. After retiring in 2008, he coached at the Saracens Academy for five years.

NEIL BACK: The potent openside flanker retired in 2005 after 15 years with Leicester Tigers, moving into coaching. His last full-time role at Edinburgh ended in 2013.

LAWRENCE DALLAGLIO: The former Wasps No 8 now heads up the Lawrence Dallaglio Foundation, helping young people find opportunities through sport and also raising funds for teenage cancer trusts.

REPLACEMENTS. DORIAN WEST: Former Leicester hooker retired straight after the 2003 World Cup and then coached with England’s then Under-21s. The 46-year-old has been forwards coach at Northampton Saints since 2007.

JASON LEONARD: The versatile scrummager won 114 England caps across 14 years, retiring the year after England’s World Cup triumph.

Now working in construction.

MARTIN CORRY: Has worked in sales since retiring in 2009. The Leicester No 8 went on to captain England between 2005 and 2007 following the World Cup triumph.

LEWIS MOODY: Now running his own coaching company, Moody retired in 2012 after two years at Bath that followed 14 years with Leicester.

KYRAN BRACKEN: Former scrum-half is now the director of a construction company. Retired in 2006 and then won celebrity talent competition Dancing On Ice a year later.

MIKE CATT: South Africa-born Catt is now England’s attack coach, working alongside head coach Stuart Lancaster.

IAIN BALSHAW: The penultimate member of the 2003 line-up to retire, with knee injuries forcing him to quit just days before Tindall.