Gloucester Rugby: Ten years on from World Cup glory, but Mike Tindall refuses to dwell on the past
IF YOU let yourself look back, maybe that's the moment you retire.
At least in your mind.
Maybe that's why Mike Tindall and his fellow 2003 World Cup survivors all-but refuse to dwell on the past.
In two months it will be 10 years since England won the World Cup.
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Only three players from that victorious 22-man squad are still playing.
That Tindall numbers among them is entirely down to persistence, presence of mind and a definite stubborn streak too.
His refusal to accept his Gloucester career was over last summer must rank among the near-legendary contract negotiations of the professional era.
This time last year new boss Nigel Davies handed Tindall a player/coach role, after Bryan Redpath had ushered him towards the Kingsholm exit.
Now Tindall has another one-year deal, for his ninth Cherry and Whites campaign.
The 34-year-old sees no reason for it to be his last – provided he ends the season in the same condition he starts.
Tindall, Iain Balshaw and Jonny Wilkinson are the last of the 2003 generation still going strong.
Wilkinson's Indian summer on the French Riviera is not about to abate, as Gloucester found to their peril with 42-17 defeat on August 9 at Toulon's Stade Mayol.
And former Gloucester flyer Balshaw is just as settled at Basque giants Biarritz.
Otley-born Tindall would be forgiven for easing up, but is having none of it.
He explained: "It's funny to think of the World Cup as that long ago, but it's not something you dwell on.
"You just get on with things, keep your head down and work hard.
"There isn't time to reflect, and in fact it can be counterproductive in some ways.
"I think it's well-known that Jonny has never wanted to look back on what he's done before, because he's always so keen to push further and further forward.
"Now Jonny has always been a one-off really, a remarkable guy, but everyone's got to have a certain level of drive to keep working hard."
Gloucester open their second season under rugby director Davies by hosting Sale Sharks at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Tindall remains content to balance his backs coaching duties with offering a muscular and calming midfield presence where required.
The ex-Bath centre has enjoyed yet another punishing pre-season, and hopes that can help keep him in the mix for frontline action.
He continued: "It's a personal thing, if your body stands up to it then you get on with it.
"As soon as you know you're struggling then all that changes.
"But when you can compete physically, that's the first challenge, and the second is mental ultimately.
"If you've got the desire to keep going, you're in good condition and you're playing well, then why not keep going?
"I've really enjoyed pre-season, I feel really good, I've tested really well and I still know I can do it physically.
"So now it's just a case of continuing to prove it."