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Tindall keeping his options open

Mike Tindall has admitted he would retire at the end of the season if it becomes the "right thing" for Gloucester.

The World Cup winner revealed his 17th top-flight campaign could prove his last, if he thinks calling it day would most benefit the Cherry and Whites.

England's most-capped centre confirmed he will seek to stay at Kingsholm next season, whether continuing his player-coach role or focusing on a full-time management brief.

The 35-year-old does not expect a quick decision on his future though, anticipating a "last-minute" call from both himself and Gloucester's rugby director Nigel Davies.

He explained: "It's tough at the moment, I still love playing and I've played 11 games this year already.

"I'm playing regularly and I feel good when I'm playing. But at the same time it's about what's right for the club.

"So it's finding that balance.

"I'm out of contract at the end of the season, but It's not going to be something we talk about until late on I don't think.

"I don't see myself as a key person to get signed up to play for next year.

"That will all happen late doors depending on what's right for myself and what's right for the club.

"We're very good at coming to arrangements last-minute though.

"So I'm sure when it comes to it we'll be able to sort something out that works.

"If that needs to be the case at the end of the year that I need to play another year, and I feel comfortable in terms of the amount of games I've played and how I've played in them, then that's the right thing.

"But if it's not then we've got to assess that properly as well.

"I'm open-minded at the moment. At the moment I love playing and I would love to play another year.

"But we'll have to see what happens throughout the year and where we are at the end of it.

"Definitely I will want to be at the club next season, whatever the capacity. That's never going to change.

"The willingness to still be here and help and watch this playing group develop is always foremost in my mind, so that won't change."

Gloucester's star fly-half Freddie Burns is another Cherry and White out of contract at the end of the season.

Fellow England squad men Billy Twelvetrees and Henry Trinder have already signed new Gloucester deals.

Tindall hopes Burns is closing in on new terms at Gloucester, to benefit from lining up alongside that Twelvetrees-Trinder centre partnership for both club and country.

He said: "I think in some ways the fact some of those guys have signed early may well put undue pressure on others to make quick decisions.

"But contracts are difficult things to deal with.

"We see Freddie as a massive part of our future and you want to get that nailed down as quickly as possible.

"The most important ones can often tend to take a little bit longer than you might hope.

"But hopefully we'll get that done very soon, he'll be nailed down and we can look to the future.

"Billy has played (number) 12 for England's last five games, Henry is looking at pushing on for that England spot as well, and he'll definitely have a chance there in the Six Nations.

"From Freddie's point of view, suddenly he could be playing week-to-week with the international backline at his club as well.

"That will help all of them in terms of going forward, playing for both club and country.

"And it would be a great unit to have if we can make that happen."


From Belfast Telegraph