England captain Mike Tindall is poised to announce his retirement from rugby union.
The 35-year-old, 75-times capped centre tweeted, after his side’s 38-30 home Aviva Premiership victory over London Irish: “Looks like the last game at Kingsholm has been played. Gutted it has to end. Good win to finish though. Love to the #glawsfamily.”
When asked about the tweet outside the changing rooms, Tindall, who is married to the Princess Royal’s daughter Zara Phillips, said: “I don’t want to say anything now – I will do it at some point next week.
“There will be plenty of time next week (to speak with the media).”
Tindall, who signed a one-year contract with Gloucester last year as a player-backs coach, said he would make himself available for selection for Gloucester’s final match of the season away at local rivals Worcester but wanted to say goodbye to the club’s fans at the last match of the campaign at Kingsholm.
Meanwhile, another Gloucester star, very much in the England set-up, will have a scan to find out the seriousness of an ankle injury that could rule him out of the nation’s tour of New Zealand in a month’s time.
England national coach Stuart Lancaster will certainly be monitoring the situation surrounding centre Billy Twelvetrees ahead of his squad selection for the three-Test series against the mighty All Blacks.
Twelvetrees came off after only nine minutes of the game, having converted a try from back row Sione Kalamafoni in the second minute.
Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies was heartened by the win but naturally concerned about Twelvetrees.
He said: “It is an ankle problem and, with a lot of these things when a player is injured, it is very difficult to give a formal assessment.
“But what we will do is monitor the situation in the next 48 hours and, within that period, he will have a scan which will identify the extent of the problem.”
Davies’ immediate reaction, though, was ‘it is not great’, which will be a major cause for concern for Lancaster.
Davies added: “Until we have a clearer picture, we cannot say how serious it is.”
Twelvetrees hobbled badly before laying on the ground just as Burns sent over a long kick to the corner for Charlie Sharples to score.
Medics ran on to help and two of them shouldered the stricken centre off the field to the sidelines.
Davies said: “Billy is a committed player and, for him to come off – because there was a lot of emotion around the game – obviously says quite a bit about the injury. But like all things, we just have to wait and see for a couple of days.”
England wing Sharples, while not as serious-looking as Twelvetrees, may be a doubt for the tour as well.
Davies added: “Charlie got a dead leg early in the game and it proved too much for him to continue. It is not too serious but it can keep you out for a couple of weeks so, again, we will have to see.”
One man who looks certain to be going to New Zealand is Marland Yarde, who will play his last match for London Irish next week at home to Sale Sharks before he joins Harlequins for next season.
Yarde has been in and out of the Irish team due to injury this season but he shone at Kingsholm with three tries.
London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith said: “That was about his best game all season. He was magnificent and he will be sorely missed. He is genuine and a real competitor.
“There have been times when Marland has struggled to get back into the side after injuries because someone else has scored three tries.
“He is an outstanding back three player but there are a lot of them in England.”
Smith said Irish wanted ‘to mug’ Gloucester early on in the game but found themselves 17-5 down at one stage before rallying to lead 27-25 and then let the game go.
He said: “We knew they were going to play the game from deep and so we wanted to put all our defenders up in the front line and mug them.
“We worked really hard on getting a good start to shut the crowd up because that is a factor at Kingsholm – but life had something different in store for us.”
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