Mike Tindall believes he has been vindicated after his reinstatement to England’s Elite Player Squad but claims he has been made a scapegoat by the Rugby Football Union.
Tindall lodged a successful appeal after being thrown out of the EPS earlier this month as a result of a controversial night out in Queenstown during the recent World Cup.
The ex-England skipper also had his £25,000 fine reduced by £10,000 but he is adamant his punishment still doesn’t fit the crime.
"I accept the decision but maintain the level of fine is not in line with other RFU disciplinary cases," said Tindall in a written statement.
"I feel somewhat vindicated by the decision to reinstate me back into the Elite Player Squad…but I am deeply disappointed by the way the RFU has chosen to handle the situation. I have felt throughout the disciplinary process that my case was made unnecessarily political and public by the RFU and that I ended up being made a scapegoat.
"The decision goes some way to reflect a fairer assessment of what actually happened during the World Cup. It had been suggested that I intentionally misled people in relation to the events in Queenstown and I am pleased following this appeal process that it has been made clear that I did not do so."
Tindall did accept that his behaviour in the Altitude bar and beyond on September 11 was far from helpful as far as England’s World Cup campaign was concerned, however.
The 33-year-old admitted to drinking excessively but refuted claims that he wasn’t fully committed to England’s cause Down Under.
"I absolutely accept my share of responsibility for what happened in Queenstown and that I drank too much that night," added Tindall.
"It unfortunately created a level of media interest which was an unwanted distraction for myself, my team-mates, Martin Johnson and his staff. I can again only apologise unreservedly for this.
"It is the ultimate honour to play for your country and I am proud and privileged to have done this for over 11 years. I have always put my heart and soul into playing for England."