Tindall: RFU made me World Cup scapegoat

FORMER England captain Mike Tindall remains deeply dissatisfied with the Rugby Football Union for making him “a scapegoat” following the infamous alcohol-fuelled night out in Queenstown that nearly cost him his Test career.

Tindall on Monday successfully appealed against his expulsion from the elite squad, thus opening the door to an international return, while he also saw his £25,000 fine reduced to £15,000.

Far from being appeased, however, the 33-year-old Gloucester centre, a World Cup winner and 75-cap Test veteran, believes the whole situation was chronically mismanaged.

“I am deeply disappointed by the way the RFU has chosen to handle the situation and I have felt throughout the disciplinary process that my case was made unnecessarily political and public by the RFU and that I ended up being made a scapegoat,” he said in a statement released by the Rugby Players’ Association.

“Yesterday’s decision goes some way to reflect a fairer assessment of what actually happened during the World Cup. It had been suggested that I intentionally misled people in relation to the events in Queenstown.

“I am pleased following this appeal process that it has been made clear that I did not do so. I feel somewhat vindicated by the decision to reinstate me back into the Elite Player Squad.”

Meanwhile, the upheaval at the beleaguered RFU gathered pace yesterday when acting chief executive Martyn Thomas stepped down with immediate effect and was replaced by Stephen Brown.

Thomas, who is also leaving as chairman of the organising committee for the 2015 World Cup in England, survived a vote of no confidence in September after threatening legal action should a report by judge and RFU disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett into the exit of predecessor John Steele be made public.