I can still be a force for Gloucester Rugby - Mike Tindall
MIKE Tindall says he still has plenty to offer on the field despite being handed a dual coaching role at Gloucester.
England's most capped centre has become player/backs coach at Kingsholm, a move which extends a seven-year association with the Cherry and Whites when it seemed that his Kingsholm career was over.
New director of rugby Nigel Davies has come to the rescue of the 2003 World Cup winner and offered him the chance to begin his coaching journey.
Davies has a proven track record of helping to develop from within, as shown in his successor at previous club Llanelli Scarlets, who have promoted Simon Easterby to replace him.
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But with new duties to juggle, Tindall says he is not ready to hang up his boots just yet after having his passion for the game re-ignited by his first Barbarians taste in May.
"The Barbarians was good because it proved to me that I still wanted to play," the former Gloucester captain said.
"Playing three games in six games is never easy, let alone playing three internationals, but I was really happy with the way I played.
"From my point of view it picked me up again to say that I should still keep playing next year. It gave me a bit of spotlight to get back on the rails so I really enjoyed it.
"It was the first time I had been involved in the Barbarians and it got me re-motivated to find somewhere I could play.
"I am no less determined or no more determined but I still want to be able to make my impact on the field.
"It was difficult because, obviously, it was hard at the end of the season to get something sorted but I am looking forward to the challenges ahead."
With Tindall and wife Zara Phillips laying down roots in Gloucestershire, the former England skipper said he never wanted to end up anywhere else but Kingsholm.
The battering ram centre arrived in the county from South West rivals Bath in the summer of 2005 and has gone on to make nearly 130 appearances for the club.
Former head coach Bryan Redpath opted not to offer Tindall a new deal last year but in light of the former Scottish international's departure to Premiership rivals Sale, negotiations began all over again.
Tindall explored options elsewhere, most notably in France, but he is pleased to get his future sorted so he can focus on leading Gloucester to glory.
"I have always said all along Gloucester is where I wanted to stay, but it was difficult and it took time to get it done," Tindall said.
"You can't always expect things to happen your way. You have to look at all options and I had to do that.
"I looked at a couple of things if Gloucester didn't turn up, but for me and the family it was best to stay here.
"I always hoped I could stay here and when Nigel was appointed he said there would be an opportunity and he wanted me to come on board.
"Coaching has been something I have been thinking about for the last three or four years and a route I wanted to go down, so this gave me the perfect opportunity."
In many ways the new role is the perfect way for Tindall to kick-start his coaching career.
Last season Gloucester showed what great potential their backs have with a number of exciting displays.
The likes of Charlie Sharples, Henry Trinder, Freddie Burns and now Jonny May have forced their way under the watchful eye of England head coach Stuart Lancaster.
Added to that growing stable of young bucks is new arrival, England Saxons cap, Billy Twelvetrees from Leicester.
The creative and versatile centre has already shown signs of forming a promising partnership with fellow midfield man Trinder for the Saxons in the successful Churchill Cup campaign last summer.
With Charlie Hodgson retiring from international duty yesterday, the door has now been left open for Burns to make the same step up that Sharples and May.
And Tindall acknowledged the talent of Gloucester's back line talent by saying that whoever was in charge of shaping the exciting Kingsholm charges would be a lucky man.
"We have got talent all the way through when you look at our backline and what it did last year," he said.
"Last year we saw the best of what we have got but then we saw moments when things did not go right for us and we did not adapt.
"Hopefully what Nigel can do is continue their development and understanding when things are not going right.
"And instead of being on the end of a number of close losses, we will come out on the other side of it.
"We know how we can play when we get it right, if you look at Toulouse last year we got it right and beat one of the best teams in Europe.
"It is just the challenge of when things are not going your way.
"You have to work on and adapt every department so it will go our way but still have the game plan to stop it if it doesn't go our way."