Mike Tindall is a light-weight. He proved that in Gloucester's five-try trouncing of Sale at Kingsholm.
There was a sharpness to Tindall, a hunger to be involved and pace that was reminiscent of the England centre's form a few years ago. The 28-year-old's prodigious strength allowed him to offload with impunity in contact.
"I am a little bit lighter and I just feel really good," Tindall said. "I have not consciously tried to lose weight; it is just training. I am 10lb lighter, which puts me at around 16st. Yet I am stronger than I have been in a long time. And being that little bit lighter does help when it comes to having to run a bit quicker."
Tindall is expected to start Saturday's Calcutta Cup match against Scotland at Twickenham. "We have every reason to be optimistic about England," he stated. "We've got a lot of good players. And England training last week was completely different.
"Tuesday morning was one of the best England sessions I have done in years, it was fun, it challenged the players and that is the big thing. And there were no meetings. Brian [Ashton] hates meetings. The problem is, that when you have a disappointing run, the pressure gets a little more each training session. Now it actually feels as if we have a clean slate."
Gloucester's head coach, Dean Ryan, said: "[Mike] has been outstanding. He has been in good form for a number of weeks. Without him we are a completely different back line."
Sale's Philippe Saint-André was stoical. His team have just played seven hard games and suffered a spate of injuries to key players. Mercifully, there now followtwo weeks with no club rugby and Saint-André and his assistant, Kingsley Jones, have blooded an outstanding prospect Rhys Jones, son of Kingsley.
"I didn't think our paths would cross for another year or 18 months," said Kingsley, "but the injuries dictated otherwise." Rhys, a fly-half, was a member of the 2006 Grand Slam winning Wales Under-19 side. He may have been out of position, at full-back, but he did not look out of his depth.
Gloucester: Tries Lamb, Balshaw, Azam, Bortolami, Morgan; Conversions Lamb 2, Mercier 3; Penalties Lamb, Mercier; Drop goal Lamb. Sale: Tries Foden, Schofield, Mayor; Conversions R Jones 3; Penalty R Jones.
Gloucester: I Balshaw; J Bailey, J Adams (O Morgan, 73), M Tindall, J Simpson-Daniel; R Lamb (L Mercier, 40), R Lawson (P Richards, 68); C Califano (N Wood, 54), O Azam (M Davies, 54), C Nieto, M Bortolami (capt; W James, 80), A Brown, P Buxton, A Hazell, A Balding (L Narraway, 80).
Sale: R Jones; C Bell, C Mayor, M Taylor, O Ripol (A Vilk, 44); R Wigglesworth (M Riley, 80), B Foden; E Roberts (B Evans, 76), A Titterrell (S Bruno, 48), B Stewart (S Turner, 44), D Schofield, C Day, C Jones (D Tait, 44), I Fernandez-Lobbe, S Chabal (capt; M Hills, 80).
Referee: A Spreadbury (Somerset).Reuse content