Mike Tindall's new status as official scapegoat – conferred most emphatically by his former World Cup-winning team-mate Matt Dawson – is maybe the final indictment of the crippled thinking that so bedevils English rugby union.
The players' union naturally weighed in with an instant appeal and the purse-lipped view that Tindall's £25,000 fine and dismissal from the elite players' list was "extraordinary". We know that there are Twickenham types still walking around with the conviction that the entire Dwarfgate affair was a media conspiracy and that Tindall, vice-captain of the squad, lest we forget, simply paid the price of having married into the royal family, but when someone of Dawson's standing mouths the same nonsense you have to worry the entire game has a considerable psychological problem.
Some argue that Tindall (below) should have been allowed to walk away after betraying his coach and former team-mate Martin Johnson and providing an example to younger team-mates that was quite astonishing in its irresponsibility.
Scapegoats take the blame for the faults of others, but if anyone ever shaped his own fate it was surely Mike Tindall.
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