FORMER Bath centre Mike Tindall has announced his retirement from professional rugby.
The 35-year-old, who helped England win the World Cup in 2003, has decided to hang up his boots after almost two decades in the game with Bath and Gloucester.
He said on his official Twitter feed: "After 17 years it's time to retire from rugby, I have been lucky to play with/against some great players, two great clubs and had some amazing times. Thank you to everyone who has supported me through my career!"
Tuesday's announcement comes four days after another former Bath three-quarter, Iain Balshaw, confirmed his retirement after failing to recover from a knee injury, leaving Tindall as the only member of England's World Cup-winning squad still active.
However, Tindall has now also decided to call it a day.
The Otley-born back, who married the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips in 2011, started his career with Bath in 1997 and spent eight seasons at the Rec before moving to their West Country rivals Gloucester.
Tindall spent almost a decade at Kingsholm and became player-coach following the arrival of director of rugby Nigel Davies in 2012.
While he had not been offered a playing contract at the Cherry and Whites for next season, Tindall had the chance to become the club's full-time backs coach, but the sacking of Davies in May and subsequent appointment of Nick Walshe as backs and attack specialist left that proposal void.
Tindall played 75 matches for England.
Tindall, who is now set to work as a television pundit, added on www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk: "I could play two more years if I really wanted to but club rugby is a very special thing for me, it's what I love about the game.
"I had to ask myself if I wanted to go and play somewhere else.
"Can you get emotionally attached to another club? Because that is the pull of club rugby for me.
"I don't think you can. I always say 'never say never' but I wouldn't have thought I will be back.
"You have to face the big bad world sometime and now is the right time to do that."
He added: "If I was honest, I did enjoy the player/coach role but at the same time it would be too easy to chase a coaching role.
"As soon as Nigel left I knew it would be very difficult as my contract had run out and my coaching experience was limited.
"I was always fully aware what might end up happening and as soon as they signed (new director of rugby) David Humphreys I knew.
"But after 17 years in the game playing it's very easy to think you have to stay in that environment.
"But now what this has given me is an opportunity to have a year away from that and have a look at what else is out there.
"It's a little bit daunting going into something where I am out of my comfort zone but at the same time it is exciting."
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