Former England captain Tindall set to be first casualty of Lancaster era
Mike Tindall”s England career has come to an inglorious end with interim coach Stuart Lancaster due to inform the controversial centre that he has failed to retain his place in the Elite Player Squad.
The 33-year-old Gloucester star willbe remembered for his drunken antics in Queenstown at the World Cup this year rather than battling performances in his 75 Tests that included lifting the World Cup in Sydney in 2003.
Iinglorious end: Mike Tindall faces the axe
Lancaster, who has been appointed interim coach for the Six Nations while the RFU search for a successor to Martin Johnson, has made it known he will cull older players from his new squad when he names it on January 11 – and Tindall, who has represented his country for 11 years, is one of the most high-profile victims.
Forwards coach Graham Rowntree insists nothing has been decided about the make up of England”s 32-man training squad. But he suggested there will be Six Nations places up grabs for England”s young hopefuls.
Working alongside Lancaster and backs coach Andy Farrell, he said: “We”ve only been together as a coaching trio for a couple of weeks so we”ve spoken tentatively about selection but nothing is set in stone yet. But we”re announcing two squads in January and we”ve got to get it right.”
Controversy: England trio Mike Tindall, Dylan Hartley and Chris Ashton
Rowntree will be at the Northampton-Bath game today for the start of three full Premiership programmes before the England management team have to finalise names.
Lancaster has to find a new captain following the retirement from international rugby of Lewis Moody, plus successors for fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, lock Simon Shaw, hooker Steve Thompson and the injured duo of prop Andrew Sheridan and scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth.
Rowntree hopes the new England squad will not be shackled by the fear of making a mistake because they are playing international rugby. “We want them to come and play as well as they can for their country. So the more they are doing that for their clubs the better,” he added.