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Tindall still loyal to England cause

Former England captain Mike Tindall will never turn his back on playing for his country.

The 33-year-old was initially excluded from England's elite player squad and fined £25,000 by a Rugby Football Union panel last year over his off-field behaviour during the World Cup. He was later reinstated and had the fine reduced to £15,000 on appeal, but he has not played for England since.

Tindall has not ruled out returning to the international fold, and told the Mail on Sunday: "I'm the sort of person who'd never say never to anything, and certainly not to England. It's one of the proudest moments of your life when you represent your country, and if I am ever asked to play again, I will."

Tindall has had no indication from England head coach Stuart Lancaster that he is no longer in the reckoning.

"He came and saw me when he took over (as interim coach) and said he needed to find out if a group of young players can play," Tindall said.

"It was the right thing to do, absolutely."

Tindall, who said in a statement last November that he felt he had been made a "scapegoat" for England's poor displays on the pitch in New Zealand, added: "Given the same situation, you wouldn't repeat it. But neither did England get knocked out of the World Cup because we went for a night out."

He has remained tight-lipped over the topic since issuing an unreserved apology for his controversial night out in Queenstown soon after returning home, but feels he will never change some people's opinions of him.

"I've stayed away from talking about what happened because people have their fixed opinions and you can't compete when people have already made up their minds," he said.

"Obviously it wasn't ideal for me to end up as hammered as I was. That's a given. It's just that the reaction to my mistake turned into a rollercoaster that I couldn't control. But the people close to me, those I love, know what actually happened, and it just wasn't some enormous crisis."

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