sport

Tindall retires from rugby

Former England centre Mike Tindall has announced his retirement from competitive rugby.

The 35-year-old Yorkshireman, who played his club rugby in the west country with Bath and Gloucester, has called it quits after 17 years in the professional game.

He represented England on 75 occasions, scoring 14 tries and two conversions, and was a member of their World Cup winning team in 2003.

Making the announcement via Twitter, he said: \"After 17 years it's time to retire from rugby. I've been lucky to play with and against some great players, at two great clubs, and had some amazing times.

\"Thank you to everyone who supported me throughout my career.\"

As well as the World Cup, Tindall also won the Six Nations title twice as well as the European Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Tuesday's announcement comes four days after Iain Balshaw confirmed his retirement after failing to recover from a knee injury, leaving Tindall as the only member of England's World Cup-winning squad still active.

However, Tindall has now also decided to call it a day.

The Otley-born back, who married the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips in 2011, started his career with Bath in 1997 and spent eight seasons at the Rec before moving to their West Country rivals Gloucester.

Tindall spent almost a decade at Kingsholm and became player-coach following the arrival of director of rugby Nigel Davies in 2012.

While he had not been offered a playing contract at the Cherry and Whites for next season, Tindall had the chance to become the club's full-time backs coach but the sacking of Davies in May and subsequent appointment of Nick Walshe as backs and attack specialist left that proposal void.

Tindall admitted that Davies' exit left his chances of a new contract at Kingsholm limited.

The Cherry and Whites have since recruited David Humphreys to fill the vacant director of rugby role while his new back-room staff leaves 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," Tindall said.

"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."

He added: "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 (now).

"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."