Mike Tindall has been hit with a whopping £25,000 fine and been axed from the England Elite Players Squad.
This is a bit of a barking move from the mandarins at the RFU, who seem determined to try and impose authority from above before they are anywhere near getting their house in order themselves.
The ridiculous, over-the-top punishment of Tindall has all the hallmarks of a classic scapegoating. What’d he do, go to a couple of bars and tell a few porkies about where he’d been, then get caught out? Is that really the extent of his ‘crimes’? The RFU are essentially snitching three old-timers who’ll be fishing in Oregon next week.*
The Mole had assumed that this had all been dealt with. Tindall is 33-years old and finished as an international rugby player. Axing him from the squad is a pointless and grating way to bring the curtain down on his career, and is an absolutely transparent attempt by the union to look decisive and no-nonsense. Unfortunately for their image, they’ve been hanging their dirty laundry out in public for the best part of three months, and most everybody holds them as a laughing stock. A move like this, long after all the fuss has died down, is an incredibly obvious attempt to stamp some sort of brand on a horse long after it’s bolted through the stable door.
Tindall has had far more serious discipline issues in the past [he has twice been banned from the roads for drunk-driving, for example]: this measure smacks of opportunistic puritanism. The RFU just can’t seem to find their way at the moment.
The one thing the Mole would add is that perhaps there’s a little bit more to the story, especially where Tindall’s attitude is concerned. Brian Redpath [the ex-Scotland international scrum-half and his coach at Gloucester] has twice been critical regarding Tindall since his return to his club, albeit the criticisms are somewhat veiled.
“Mike needs to keep pushing on and putting pressure on himself to perform to a higher level every week,” said Redpath. “I am not going to go on about the England thing because the World Cup has gone. He is training hard, knows that he cannot cut corners and that he has to go out and prove many people wrong. They all want their photograph with him and talk nicely to him but when he plays poorly for his nation he gets criticised. Quite rightly so and he has to take the ups and downs, the claps and the slaps in the chops. All I am interested in is Mike performing well for Gloucester.”
* with apologies to Sgt Jack Vincennes