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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 February 2006, 08:27 GMT
Tindall defends Noon partnership
By Bryn Palmer

Mike Tindall yawns as he trains with England this week
Tindall gets up to speed with England's tactics this week
Mike Tindall has appealed to England fans to give his centre partnership with Jamie Noon time to develop.

The pair played against Australia and New Zealand in the autumn but were criticised for England's failure to capitalise on their pack's efforts.

"It doesn't just fall into place," Tindall said. "We are not at the stage yet where I know immediately what he is going to do, and vice-versa.

"But hopefully the more we play together the better it will get."

Since Tindall and Will Greenwood helped England to World Cup glory in 2003, England have employed nine different centre partnerships, with Tindall having seven different partners.

"Will and I were there for donkeys years and just about got things together when he stopped!" Tindall added.

"It is a thing you grow into. I just want to get 'Noony' the ball. He has got great feet and can create stuff off his own back, and it is up to me and Charlie (Hodgson) to make use of the great attacking forces in our backline.

I haven't played as well as I did in the World Cup year
Mike Tindall
"We wanted to play a lot more of an attacking game in the autumn and didn't get things right on every occasion.

"We have to get everyone in an attacking frame of mind but that was only the first three games. If we had been a little sharper against New Zealand we could have won and we have to step it up two or three notches.

"But if we do that, we are going to have a pretty complete team."

Tindall has suffered a series of ankle, foot and shoulder injuries in the past two years, and only in recent months has enjoyed a run of games with Gloucester, after leaving Bath at the end of last season.

His conversion from outside to inside centre might have been put on hold if Olly Barkley had not dislocated his thumb, ruling him out of England's opening three Six Nations matches.

I've no doubt about Mike's form for this weekend
Andy Robinson
But coach Andy Robinson retains great faith in Tindall, even if the player admits he has yet to regain the heights he touched in 2003.

"I haven't played as well as I did in the World Cup year," Tindall added. "But I can only get back to that level by playing well week in, week out for Gloucester.

"I started this season really well and then dipped a bit after the autumn internationals. But in recent weeks I felt I have been going better.

"Confidence is a massive thing with every player but, as long as I have got self-belief, that is the main thing.

"It is a case of getting yourself in the right positions and getting your brain up to the speed you want it to be at."

Interview: England centre Mike Tindall

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