Grapevine Stories

Mike Tindall tells us why he doesn't miss rugby

World Cup Rugby winner and Grapevine ambassador Mike Tindall explains why he's happy he's retired.

"Do you miss rugby?"

This is the most common question that I get asked - it doesn’t matter if it's at a corporate event or if someone stops me in the street.

I don’t know if it's just one of those generic questions that you can’t help but ask, but it’s the most common thing I get. I think it’s a bit like when you are in a cab and as much as you don’t want to say it, you can’t help but ask ‘Have you have been busy today?' or ‘What time you on till?'

But I always have the same answer. ‘No! I don’t miss it.’

I think it shocks a lot of people how quickly the answer comes and how resounding the answer is, but the truth is simple – no way do I wish I was still playing professionally!

"Why?" is normally the next question!

I feel that I was very lucky in professional sport. I managed to stay at the top end of the game for 17 years. which, with how injuries can be in rugby, is getting away lightly.

I only have to think of my mate James Simpson Daniel, one of the best players I was fortunate enough to play with, who didn’t get to achieve everything he had the potential to do, because of injury. I am content with my career and don’t feel like I have left any unfinished business on the pitch, which must be one of the hardest things for people who have had to quit the game because of injuries.

I also noticed in my last couple of years that I was starting to get more and more frustrated with law changes and the health and safety element that was creeping in. I know how important player welfare is and it should always be top of the list, but I’m also worried that at some point it will affect the DNA of the game.

As long as the law makers look at the all the finding of researchers and engage with players from around the world, then I’m sure the right outcomes will be found but we have to remember the game of rugby is a game of avoidance with a lot of unpredictable collisions and it is impossible to make those collisions predictable.

I still love the game and that’s why I like to throw my boots on from time to time at Minchinhampton RFC or for various Vets games that are out there.

I love to watch and talk about the sport, but I know that it would frustrate the hell out of me to still be on the pitch professionally!

The day of the old school rugby player has passed and I am really lucky that I was able to do what I did, finish on a high and move on before I didn’t enjoy it anymore or before I was obsolete.

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