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Friday, October 28, 2011

Tindall battles to save his career

DISGRACED England centre Mike Tindall goes up against a player of the future tomorrow as he attempts to resurrect his faltering career in club rugby.
Tindall is set to play some part in Gloucester’s Premiership clash with Saracens in Watford when he will come up against Owen Farrell, one of England’s new breed of up-and-coming stars.
Farrell, 20, was one of the bright lights of England’s Junior World Cup campaign in the summer and only just missed out on a spot in the senior tournament.
It wasn’t a bad gig to miss out on as it turned out, as Martin Johnson’s squad crashed and burned amid allegations of unprofessionalism both on and off the field.
By contrast Farrell, who booted Sarries to the Premiership title last season, has been starring in the centre for Saracens this campaign – and will be learning even more about the tools of his trade from old stager Charlie Hodgson who has joined from Sale.
And with a bright future ahead, he’s sure to be a starter for England in the 2015 campaign.
Sarries’ boss Mark McCall said: “Every time that a new challenge has been presented to Owen, he has risen to that challenge. He had a ­magnificent six or seven months at the end of last season but he is 20 and he has got a hell of a lot to learn.
“Charlie has been a top class Premiership rugby player for the last 10 seasons. He knows rugby inside out and he is going to be able to pass on a lot to Owen.”
Farrell, son of league legend Andy, was forced into playing fly-half last season because of an injury crisis at Sarries, but has settled into the centre this season where he played his rugby as a youngster.
Tindall, 33, was at the centre of the World Cup farce when he was caught on CCTV in Dunedin in a drunken clinch with a blonde and was trapped in the headlights as England were bundled out by France.
His contract with Gloucester is up at the end of the season and boss Bryan Redpath has warned Tindall it could be the end of the road unless he pulls his finger out.
Redpath said: “He hasn’t struck a blow in anger this year for Gloucester. This is going to be his first chance to play – play and develop and then put his hand up and say I want to play more, I want to play well and I want to keep playing rugby.
“If Mike plays well there is no reason not to keep him on for another year but, if he doesn’t, then we sit down and have a discussion and I say: ‘Mate, it’s not right for Gloucester rugby.’
“He has done well to stay in that England mix. He’s a battler... it’s one of his strengths, his durability.
“He has had a lot of knocks but he’s got the mental strength to take the criticism and keep going.”
Meanwhile, the Rugby Players’ Association – the players union – has received feedback from around 80 per cent of the players involved in England’s disastrous time in New Zealand.
The remaining 20 per cent of the squad have until Monday to complete and hand in their questionnaires which are set to form part of the Professional Game Board’s review of England’s dismal performance.
cSARRIES have lost scrum-half Richard Wrigglesworth for the season after he required knee surgery.

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