Mike Tindall is expected to be named by Martin Johnson, on Monday, as the man to take over from Lewis Moody as England captain for the trip to Wales to kick off the Six Nations.Tindall is interviewed in the new edition of Rugby World Magazine, out on Tuesday.
AFTER England had won a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2003, if someone had suggested they wouldn’t win the title again for five years they would have been hauled away by the men in white coats.
Well, it’s been eight years since they topped the table – and they haven’t even looked like winning a Triple Crown, let alone a Grand Slam.
Few of the 2003 squad are still playing, but one man who was involved in that Grand Slam win is Mike Tindall. The Gloucester centre has experienced many highs and lows with England, and says the camp has rediscovered its positive mood at last.
“The vibes have been great for the past year now,” he says. “Since we played France we’ve had a steady progression, and since the summer our confidence has been really high. We’ve started this season positively, and now the big challenge is to produce those performances again.”
Tindall made his Test debut against Scotland in 2000 – and scored a try – and the Six Nations remains a highlight of his rugby calendar. He says: “The history and the rivalries are what makes this a great tournament. You can never take anything for granted; you can be the form team in any match, but if the other team pulls a performance out of the bag they can beat you. The atmosphere is electric as the stadiums are always full and every game feels like a special occasion.”
This year brings a first for Tindall – an opening match on a Friday night, against Wales in Cardiff. Tindall knows the game’s result could set the tone for the rest of the championship.
“It’s important to hit the ground running. In Australia in the summer we didn’t get going until the second game, and in the autumn we were off the pace in our first game against New Zealand. It’s an area we need to improve on.”
England are favourites to win the Six Nations this year and the title would be a big boost ahead of the World Cup.
“We can’t think about the World Cup yet, we’ve got to take each game as it comes,” he says. “Being favourites puts us under pressure, but we’ve got to be able to deal with that.”
This article appeared in the March 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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