Mike Tindall set to leave Gloucester after ‘rejecting new contract’

Note: This article is from the Guardian.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Mike Tindall set to leave Gloucester after ‘rejecting new contract’” was written by Mike Averis, for theguardian.com on Thursday 8th March 2012 13.57 UTC

Mike Tindall’s seven-season stay at Gloucester – and possibly his career as well – is likely to come to an end this summer after the 33-year-old declined a one-year contract that would also have meant a pay cut. He wanted two years and is believed to be discussing a move, possibly to Stade Français.

Tindall’s time at Kingsholm appeared under threat when he returned from the World Cup and the shenanigans in a South Island bar to be warned by Bryan Redpath, Gloucester’s head coach, that he was playing for his contract. Redpath said then: “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.’” That time appears to have passed.

Tindall lost his place in the England elite squad after the World Cup troubles and without that money next season he was looking at a pay cut Gloucester were reluctant to make up. Redpath has a history of refusing to meet the demands of senior players and, even though Gloucester were in the black last year, he now has younger players, with England potential rather than an England past, on which to spend his money.

The Samoan centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu is also understood to be leaving the club, but Redpath has plenty of centre options: Billy Twelvetrees is moving from Leicester to the join the England Saxons Henry Trinder and Jonny May, plus Tim Molenaar and Ryan Mills.

Tindall was asked last Sunday, after the defeat at Leicester, about a potential move to Paris and replied with a smile on his face: “I’m still a Gloucester player.” If Gloucester fail to make the play-offs – they are currently six points adrift of fourth-placed Northampton – that is likely to be the case for only five more games. He and his wife, Zara, the Queen’s granddaughter, are believed to have invested in an equine centre in Spain.

Tindall’s current contract was only for one year, but he agreed that on the grounds that he would be of limited use to Gloucester in a World Cup year. However, since returning, after the last of his 75 caps, he has put in some solid performances notably in Toulouse in the Heineken Cup and more recently at his former club Bath.

It is performances such as those that convinced Tindall he was worth another two years. Negotiations are understood to have been protracted, but in the end Redpath stood firm and Tindall last weekend conceded: “I would like to stay at Gloucester but it’s difficult, it’s down to the club.”

In the past two weeks Gloucester have lost the internationals Luke Narraway and Alasdair Strokosch to Perpignan while England’s new No8, Ben Morgan, has been signed from the Scarlets.

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