Kyran Bracken has paid tribute to the professionalism and longevity of fellow World Cup winner Mike Tindall after he announced his retirement on Tuesday.
Tindall has called it quits after 17 years in the professional game, which saw the 35-year-old represent England on 75 occasions and win the World Cup in 2003, while he played his club rugby at Bath and Gloucester.
Bracken, also a member of the World Cup winning squad, believes Tindall’s professionalism is seen in his longevity in the game.
The centre recovered from some major injuries, including a punctured lung and damaged liver in a Six Nations match against Wales in 2008 which resulted in him spending five days in intensive care.
Bracken told Sky Sports: “When England were probably at their best, at their peak, just before the World Cup and moving into the World Cup, he was one of the young breed.
“He brought everything to the table – not only was he big and strong to be able to get over the advantage line but he had a good kicking game and a very good understanding of the way to play.
“So I think he’ll be remembered for the World Cup final especially when he put in some great hits on the Australian backs, but also the fact that he’s continued to play at such a high level.
“He’s had quite a few serious injuries – some life-threatening – and managed to come back and to be able to play on for so long at such a high level is a credit to him.”
Bracken added: “He’s the new breed, the new professional. Certainly from a physical aspect, he’s managed to stay in great shape.
"Even when he’s been injured, I note that he’s always been in the gym, he’s always been very professional and careful to keep his body in good nick.
“He eats really well and he just embodies what it is to be a professional and to be able to play even in the last year for Gloucester at such a high level, still making breaks, still tackling the young people coming through.
“And so, to be fair, I suppose for him the peak really was winning the World Cup in 2003 at such an early stage of his career.
“But he’ll be remembered in the future for being a World Cup winner but also a real stalwart of club rugby at Bath and Gloucester.”
And another former teammate Iain Balshaw says Tindall could probably have continued playing rugby for another couple of seasons but chose to retire after being released by Gloucester.
Balshaw said: "It's a huge call for him to make, more so when you're not forced to retire through injury.
"He had a fantastic season last year, I know that he really wanted to carry on this year and stay at Gloucester, that wasn't to be.
"He will miss it but he's made the decision to quit and he's got to look forward to what lies ahead. It would have been a tough decision but he's got to look to the future."
As for Tindall the player, Balshaw went on: "He's had a huge impact on the English game.
"Everyone talks about him bulldozing players but he was fantastic in defence and had a great kicking game.
"He was a guy that if you were to pick someone in your team, he would be there. I can't think of many players that put their body on the line the way he did. He's had an outstanding career."