Rugby World Cup 2011
Foden tips Tindall to shine
September 21, 2011
Ben Foden is in no doubt that team-mate Mike Tindall will deliver a big performance against Romania © Getty Images
Ben Foden is backing Mike Tindall to answer his critics with a barn-storming display in England's Rugby World Cup Pool B clash with Romania on Saturday.
Tindall has been under fire for his performances on and off the field in New Zealand. The Gloucester centre, who recently married Zara Phillips, the Queen's granddaughter, struggled to make any sort of positive impact in England's tournament opener against Argentina and then found himself at the centre of a well-documented tabloid controversy after being accused of improper conduct on a night out with team-mates in Queenstown two days after their victory over the Pumas.
With Tindall now set to be recalled to the England starting line-up this weekend, all eyes will be on the midfield ace when he takes to the field at Otago Stadium. Foden, though, is in no doubt that Tindall will not waver under the pressure.
"I'm sure he'll answer his critics the same way he usually does. Mike's a very professional guy. He hasn't let it influence him in training or anything like that," the Northampton Saints fullback said.
"It's a personal matter that he's sorting out. He seems fine. I think it's all been eradicated and quickly forgotten.
"He'll be keener than anyone to go out there on the weekend and show the critics he is here to win a World Cup and perform well for England. Hopefully he'll answer the critics in the right way."
Simon Shaw, meanwhile, believes that the controversy generated by the England team's night out in Queensland will make players more reluctant to mix with the public.
"I truly hope that doesn't happen but I fear it probably will," the veteran forward said. "What I have always loved about rugby, and what the spectators have always loved, is the fact they can gain access to players.
"The more this continues, the less and less access the supporters will have to players because players will just hide away."
Indeed, Shaw believes that changes between the modern era and the professional era are already quite marked, with players now increasingly wary of being secretly filmed on a night out by a punter hoping to sell the footage to a website or tabloid.
"Individuals have become a lot higher profile and taken the game as a whole to a different plane. There's almost no stopping that, it's just the way it is," he said.
"There are more mobile phone cameras and the attention is a lot bigger than it ever was. It all brings about that kind of element of people trying to make a buck and trying to make a story."
As for this weekend's game against the Romanians, Foden admits that England are desperate to improve upon their laboured display in victory over Georgia last weekend.
"Everyone knows what's at stake and that's the reason everyone's got annoyed with the performance," he said. "We're a team that wants to go on and get to the knockout stages and hopefully go on to win the World Cup.
"We know the way we performed at the weekend isn't going to cut it. We know if we want to progress in this competition we have got to up our game."
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