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Tindall pays for World Cup misdemeanours

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Alastair Eykyn | 17:31 UK time, Friday, 11 November 2011

Mike Tindall's international career appears to be over following his sudden removal from England's elite player squad. He will not be taking part in the forthcoming Six Nations Championship, which begins in February, nor the tour to South Africa later in the year.

Perhaps the 33-year-old centre would not have been selected anyway. Still, it is a sorry way for a World Cup winner - seemingly - to bow out of international rugby.

Tindall has only himself to blame. A few drinks would have proved harmless but his infamous evening out in Queenstown during the first few days of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand involved rather more than that.

The player's subsequent confusion in explaining his whereabouts did not help his cause, while England manager Martin Johnson was made to look foolish as he faced the media in the aftermath.

Tindall's apparent lack of contrition and his unwillingness to apologise did him no favours either. It is surprising that an intelligent man, so recently married into the Royal Family, should have so little awareness of the newsworthiness of his actions.

He was a senior figure, an experienced player, a captain. Call it naïvety, call it misguidedness, call it what you like - it landed the husband of Zara Phillips in big trouble.

There will be those who consider Tindall's £25,000 fine and exclusion from the England set-up heavy-handed. Some will argue the player has been made a scapegoat by the Rugby Football Union, desperate to make an authoritative statement after a poor World Cup and months of disarray in the boardroom.

Despite becoming England's most capped centre, Tindall has been cast aside. Photo: Getty

Rob Andrew, the RFU's head of elite rugby, and Karena Vleck, the head of the RFU's legal department, have investigated each indiscretion committed by the England players on duty in New Zealand. They have interviewed the players "at length". Their ruling on Tindall is unprecedented. It is also far too late. The RFU could have avoided this situation if Johnson and his management team had disciplined Tindall on the spot.

They had several options available to them, the most extreme of which was to send the player home. They could have issued a fine or they could have suspended him for a number of matches. They chose to do nothing at all.

The circumstances were different but winger James O'Connor found himself in trouble with Australian rugby authorities a few months ago after being guilty of oversleeping. He missed his country's World Cup squad announcement and an important photo shoot. His punishment?

He was dropped immediately by Australia head coach Robbie Deans and missed the Tri-Nations decider against New Zealand. "He's less likely to take that jersey for granted in the future," said Deans at the time.

It is hard to argue that Tindall's escapades contributed directly to England's disappointing World Cup campaign. Collectively, England were off the pace and lacking in imagination. When they realised the need to fire a few shots of their own, France had already booked their place in the semi-final.

Nevertheless, the Tindall incident that night in Queenstown seemed to set the tone for an ill-fated trip. For better or worse, the perception at large was that England had adopted the wrong attitude. It all went downhill from there.

Tindall has been a terrific player for England. He has won 75 caps for his country and, in his prime, was among the best centres in the world, possessing both pace and power. As his pace has waned, he has relied more on the power and his ferocious defensive qualities.

We should not forget that he was a key figure in England's World Cup-winning team of 2003.

Tindall will continue to play for Gloucester and has been named in the starting XV for their opening Heineken Cup match against Toulouse on Sunday. He will no doubt have more successful days on the rugby pitch but it is hard to shake the feeling of disappointment when such a talented, committed and proud Englishman departs the international stage in this manner.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I'm no fan of Tindall as a player but this decision is ridiculous & it's no way for such a longstanding player to bow out of international rugby. The bloke deserves better.

  • Comment number 2.

    He made more of an impact off the field than on it! So what if he's dropped, the most overrated centre England have fielded in a while, sadly lacked vision and passing ability to be world class in this position!

  • Comment number 3.

    Yep, I agree. It seems to be a shoddy way to treat a player who has done so much for his country. His crime was more against his wife than his country (however closely linked the two are!)
    The other guys have been given much smaller fines and no suspensions...could that be because they are young and have plenty to offer on the rugby field and would be missed in the 6 Nations if suspended whilst Tindall is nearer the end of his career and so seen as a dispensable scapegoat?

  • Comment number 4.

    Great decision. A precedence needed to be set letting the younger players know that you cannot act like a yob on a stag party when your supposed to be representing your country in the world cup.

    I think the England team are in a shambles at the moment. The are like a bunch of spoilt barts who think they deserve the world. And is these reasons that England have such a bad public image all around the world.

    Tindall married into the royal family months before the world cup and then he acts like a yob on holidays in Ibiza. He should be ashamed.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think James Mathew is a little harsh there but I do agree we behaved like a bunch of lads on holidays and were a huge disappointment their whole country both on and off the field and Tindal is to blame for a lot of it. If the younger players the captain behaving in such a way then off course they think its ok.

    Plus I agree with #2...he is the most over rated player in the world. Utterly useless center.

  • Comment number 6.

    Maybe it was disproportionate, maybe he wouldn't have been punished had England won the world cup. However, he's a professional on what was essentially a work trip representing his country. It's time sports stars realised that it's work, not a holiday. I wouldn't disgrace myself on a work trip and nor should anyone else. Be professional.

  • Comment number 7.

    .

    @01 cheesebanger. . .

    you said :..." the bloke deserves better ". . .

    . . . what are you on about ???. .. he brought it on himself. He has shamed England rugby, the country, and his wife who happens to be a member of the Royal Family.

    He was totally out of order. In public or in private a newly wed bloke should really behave better than Mike Tindall. No decorum there then !!

    If he is to be taken seriously, he better bucks his ideas up, or the lovely Zara may not be around for long !!

  • Comment number 8.

    ....and what about the other miscreants? Its a case of too much too late I think. The RFU needing to be seen to be in control and used the highest profile target they had to do it. The players should be constantly reminded that they represent their country on and off the pitch and need to behave appropriately. MJ should have been all over this at the time and not let it fester into the sorry mess we have now.

  • Comment number 9.

    The fine seems somewhat incongruous and may be attached to WC appearance fees, does anyone know?

    The dropping from the elite squad as Robbie Deans endorses is what is required if the player reacts positively to the hunger of getting his place back. However in this case, it is probably overdue considering Tindall's selection over the last year or so represents a lot of what is wrong with England's back play recently - ponderous, lacking in the skills under pressure at the highest level, a basis on solid defence forsaking flair and ambition.

    The whole episode, both on and off the pitch left me hugely disappointed. Most of us fans and lesser players would chew off our right arms for a chance to play for England, nevermind in a WC, and the impression you got was that for some of the players didn't care. My England shirt has stayed firmly in the bottom of the drawer since then.

  • Comment number 10.

    Tindall acted poorly but the fine is a bit hefty. No problem with him being dropped as it is my view that any player who will not play at the next world cup should not play international rugby again. Thompson, Mears, Palmer, Shaw, Moody, Easter, Wilkinson, Tindall, Hape and Cueto should all be out of the international set up to give the young talent coming through a chance to shine. For example talents like Manu Tuilagi should not be making their debuts in the build up to the cup, they should have a dozen or so caps including appearances against the southern hemisphere. You can't win a world cup with a team with no familiarity on or off the pitch. Build a new team around the likes of Foden, Tuilagi, Haskell, Lawes and start blooding the likes of Farrell, Goode, Twelvetrees, Sharples and Gaskell.

  • Comment number 11.

    Part of me is glad - Tindall has been a good player but it is time that England had a clear-out of the over 30s to make room for some of the youngsters.

    On the other hand the decision to effectively sack him, and also fine him £25k smacks of the RFU, and Mr Squeaky in particular, looking for a scapegoat to take the blame for England's poor world cup, and the complete lack of leadership and direction on and particularly off the field.

    It could be argued that Haskell, Ashton and Tuilangi were guilty of far worse, and yet their punishment is nowhere near as harsh. If Tindall's actions were bad enough to warrant this, then why wasn't he sent home.

    Yet another shocking decision from the stuffed shirts, clearly far more concerned with keeping their snouts in the trough than they are with English Rugby. Having hung Tindall out to dry, they will no doubt claim that they have dealt with England's World Cup fiasco and can move on.

  • Comment number 12.

    #7 . . . what are you on about ???. .. he brought it on himself. He has shamed England rugby, the country, and his wife who happens to be a member of the Royal Family.

    Whan on earth has the fact that he married into the royal family got to do with anything, other than of course the reaction of the tabloids and the idiots who believe whatever the Daily Mail tells him.

  • Comment number 13.

    I share mixed feelings with earlier posters on this one - yes, I do think it's a real shame that Tindall's England career is ending this way, but he does only have himself to blame.
    His arrogant refusal to apologise or acknowledge his mistakes smacks of a general arrogance amongst many of the current England squad who either don't value their position or at the very least don't realize what is required of them to show that they value it. And those players who came out in the media to say that it was no big deal (Cueto, Lawes, etc) just clearly didn't get it either.
    Whilst Tindall may be being treated very harshly, the others seem to be getting off a little too lightly. And what about Manu? - no news of any punishment for his idiotic prank even after everything else that had happened. So no real leadership or consistency being shown by the RFU - no surprise there.
    As far as MJ's position is concerned, regardless of his coaching abilities or lack thereof, he clearly dropped the ball both in setting expectations & on the behaviour issue. Is that MJ's responsibility or should the RFU set-up have helped him deal with it? Either way, a swift punishment for the first incident at the WC, in the style of Robbie Deans, would have sent a clear message to the rest of the squad. Would it have salvaged our WC, probably not. But we certainly wouldn't still be hearing about this.

  • Comment number 14.

    Once every four years the very best get the chance to play for their country in the world cup. Whichever country they represent they're surely aware that this is the ultimate stage and the ultimate opportunity. They must be exceedingly proud and you'd expect that they'd want to be in the shape of their lives for the matches.They go away from home for 4-6 weeks and somehow, some of them can't see it through without fitting in a couple of boozing sessions. . . . Elite performance and drink simply do no mix. Any man who couldn't commit to an alcohol free tournament shouldn't have been there because he simply didn't want the jersey, or want the opportunity enough. Lawes and Cueto apparently still think it was ok to go boozing. They should be dropped until they get their heads round the idea of how privileged they should feel to have been given the opportunity to play on such a stage. Their outlook isn't nearly good enough. And if Johnson can't wake up to the importance of removing alcohol from the diet of his elite players then he needs to be moved on too.

  • Comment number 15.

    with that shambolic display in the WC the whole team deserves that fine and a warning of their future conduct. None are fit to wear the shirt!

  • Comment number 16.

    Just more stupidity by the RFU, no fan of Tindall in particular but he does seem to have been hung out to dry, while the "future players" Haskell and Ashton get away with suspended fines, and Courtney Lawes thinks it's all OK.
    RFU Get a Grip

  • Comment number 17.

    I think Tindall embarrassed himself and England by his actions at the RWC. Having said that this decision comes too late in the game in my opinion, and the fine seems unfair. Has there ever been a player fine to compare to this?

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree with cheesebanger, etc. EU law demands that punishments are proportionate to the offence - this is not. I am glad to see that Tindall is appealing. He will win, of course, and another virtual nail will be banged into the virtual coffin of Rob Andrew.

  • Comment number 19.

    Tindall is good value for the action taken. Haskell and Ashton were lucky after allegedly boorish behaviour. Lawes should think before he speaks.

    At least some action has been taken.

  • Comment number 20.

    The whole saga shows how unsuited the present set up at the RFU is to running English Rugby. There were enough bigwigs out in NZ to take the decision to snend Tindall home or at least to discipline him. I don't rate MJ, but they could have taken the decision for him. Instead he was put in an impossible position of having to make a career changing decision about one of his (probably now, former) mates. Where was Rob Andrew, Director of Elite Rugby? He could have pulled rank.

    There is another thought though. I heard Jonny on the Today Prog and he was asked about having Clive Woodward back as manager. The answer he gave suggested that the players would not find his style of management acceptable any more. Is there an undercurrent of the player power which has wrecked the football game? This would then imply that the delay in any action was due to the fact that Rob Andrew had to get the RFU to back him before anything could be done.

    As far as the punishment is concerned, Tindall, hasn't been made a scapegoat. He has been made an example. He probably would never of played for England again anyway. What will be interesting is what happens if Ashton et al misbehave again?

  • Comment number 21.

    He shouldn't have been selected again for reasons of age, form and behaviour in NZ, but this just gives the impression of wanting a public scapegoat. The fact he is a player of the past not the future just makes him an easy option for that role, while others get away with it.

    The manager/coach should carry the can, he was the one who allowed the behaviour to run out of control and directed the poor performances on the field. The other players involved in off the field misbehaviour like Ashton, Haskell and Tuilagi should have been fined and suspended for the Six Nations to teach them a lesson. Get rid of the over 30s as well, and accept we will finish third or fourth next year, and under a new coach look to be back up with Wales and France in a couple of years and the SH giants by 2015.

  • Comment number 22.

    Disgusting way to treat Tindall stinks of RFU trying to deflect real blame away from themselves again
    Perhaps its time to look at Rob Andrews credentials as all I can remember him doing is managing Newcastle from champions to relegation battlers. first man out the door in my book

  • Comment number 23.

    Whilst I think the media are as much to blame for their disgusting behaviour by doing their best to find something to smear the team with whenever any England representatives go abroad and then making it their sole purpose above any other stories (and still at it this morning when JW was on BBC Breakfast to discuss his battle with depression)....

    ...to call Tindall's actions naive are laughable.

    He was a senior figure in the squad, almost as senior as the manager and yet he shows no contrition or remorse for giving the media the dirt they so desperately wanted and deserves to be publically thrown out of the elite squad even if he was probably never going to get back there anyway!!

    Furthermore the way the RFU have decided to treat this like some sort public execution is just more poor PR from an organisation that doesn't seem to know how to deal with even the easist announcement!

    Hopefully the players will take heed that those to whom they play for will feed them to the lions to save face or cover their utter incompetance

  • Comment number 24.

    The only good Rugby move that Rob Andrew and the RFU are good at is "passing the buck". Of course Tindall was stupid and perhaps even arrogant by failing to play to the needs of the media by not apologising.

    But more serious is the RFU's handling of this sorry affair. Rob Andrew appears to delight in his large salary and supposed authority without taking any responsibility for what went wrong. Its easy to take pot shots at either Tindall or Martin Johnson for their failures but where were Andrew and the other authorities in the English game? Were they sitting on the side lines "Tut Tutting" but failing to take ownership of the problem? That is what authority requires and with it comes responsibility.

    If we are to talk about sackings - lets get rid of the "old and not so old f**ts" and replace them with people who can offer a combination of leadership and good business acumen. Until that happens - the English Rugby Team will continue to be a soft target without having the muscle or drive to reestablish themselves as a genuine force within the game.

  • Comment number 25.

    Rob Andrew trying to justify his position? Mike Tindall was a muppet - but does NOT deserve this. Appauling buck passing by the RFU looking for a scapegoat. Those in charge need to a closer look at themselves, before hanging their players out to dry - a disgrace!!! Shame on you RFU!!

  • Comment number 26.

    The handling of this reminds me of Jeremy Thorpe's put down of Harold MacMillan after he sacked several cabinet members (with Rob Andrew playing the role of MacMillan); "greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his friends for his life". Rob Andrew should be ashamed but the model of MacMillan is particularly appropriate for (to quote Carling), a bunch of old farts.

  • Comment number 27.

    Whatever the merits of Tindall's punishment, let's not forget that the management allowed this, and multiple other misdemeanors on and off the pitch, to occur.

    Frankly I am not impressed by Jonners mouthing off every time we give away another needless penalty - let's look at the organ grinder, not the monkey

  • Comment number 28.

    Tindall was a Senior player on the tour and has captained England so was expected to set an example for newer/younger players. He not only behaved badly but also lied about it to MJ subsequently. He deserves punishment, but the level of the fine seems high unless they were paid much more than I thought. Whatever his past achievements, his absence will not be a blow for the future.

    Two things though. Tindall has TWICE been convicted of drink-driving offences. Was he ever right to be an England captain? Secondly MJ is not a coach, but a Manager. His handling of these incidents and the whole tour was poor. I just can not see how his continuing appointment can be justified; the WC winning Captain from 8 years ago has surely used up the goodwill.

  • Comment number 29.

    No sympathy as England's captain he should have set an example but not of that kind, the RFU have now set an example, guess it won't happen again.

  • Comment number 30.

    Stupid decision, more poor decisions from the men upstairs, have they nothing better to do than fine and scapegoat players.
    RFU should be backing Martin Johnson if he is still to remain as England manager, and that starts with backing his decisons with how he deals with the players.
    Tindall didnt have the best of tournaments, but who in the England squad did. It is time for England to pick a younger squad but we shouldnt let Tindall go out on such a low, after his contribution and passion to England over his player career

  • Comment number 31.

    This is media driven and an attempt by Rob Andrew to increase his profile within the RFU. Tindall is in the wrong no doubt about that, but this punishment goes way too far. I had hoped Tindall would go into International retirement and we would all remember him for being a world cup winner, I hope Rob Andrew has not denied him that with this silly draconian punishment.

  • Comment number 32.

    to all the people who have written that Tindall is over rated the look at England's results without him. It seems to me that Andrew is making an example of somebody that it doesn't matter about anyway. where is Tualagi's fine for his idiotic jumping off the boat. people have ben asking what Rob Andrew's role is and i think he has done this to help keep his job. Role on the revolution

  • Comment number 33.

    The tipping point for me was the interview with Ben Youngs. I think it was at the airport on his return , when he was told about the stupid action by Tuilagi re the ferry. His reaction was to smirk, as if it was all some big joke. That summed up the attitude of many of these so called professionals representing their country. Tindall was the captain who should have set the proper example, while in fact he did quite the opposite. He deserves all he gets.

  • Comment number 34.

    I have mixed feelings on this. As an England fan I am happy in that England will be able to start picking for the future centre partnership. As a Gloucester fan I am also unhappy to have Tindall playing regularly for the Cherry and Whites week in week out.

    From a situation point of view, however. I am disappointed that the RFU felt they had to wait till now to act. Presumably they felt acting during the RWC would be ad for team morale etc. Tinders has been a loyal servant to English rugby for well over 10 years, the first time he steps out of line and he gets a huge fine and is booted off the team, presumably never to play for England again. If it had been dealt with out in NZ as an internal team matter this situation need not happen.

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't like Rugby. I don't watch it. So I can't judge Mike Tindall as a player. However, as a man who is married into the Royal Family - he has no doubt in my mind brought massive shame to their grand and wonderful reputation. I cannot believe that Zara Phillips (the Queen's Granddaughter) married this "CHAV". And that is exactly what he is - a CHAV! And his behaviour off the pitch has proved such. Getting drunk and touching up other women is no way for professional to behave - forget his connection to the Royal Family and forget the fact that he has just got married. I am glad he has been fined this amount of money and I hope that they do not grant him an appeal. He deserves his punishment. He should hang his head in shame. Because he is an embarrassment not only to himself but to Rugby and to the Royal Family!

  • Comment number 36.

    Some of the posts on here are crazy, do you guys know how much dedication and heart goes into winning one cap for your country? Now go out and win 75. This guy gave his life to playing rugby for england, a clean untarnished record. Then he has one night out after a win and he's hung out to dry, a disgrace, the RFU is a disgrace.

  • Comment number 37.

    I've said before of the RFU - in the land of the witless the halfwit is king. I do believe I have over-estimated their collective wit.

  • Comment number 38.

    Lets face it.Tindall was lucky to go to the WC, but was this an MC Knighthood/gong ploy or something owed from 2003?
    The fine is harsh and criticisms of his behaviour perhaps unfair and one sided. Leave him alone, as being a royal now will be hard enough itself.

  • Comment number 39.

    I Think that Tindall was a very good player. Its such a pity that he did not take resposability for his behaviour. its a pity to see a player who has offered so much to bow out on a low

  • Comment number 40.

    Tindall acted like the world's biggest plonker but the fine is totally disproportionate to the off-field antics during the world cup. Isn't it enough that he's likely to get the biggest cold shoulder from his grandma-in-law?

  • Comment number 41.

    Sorry but this is a bad way to treat a former world cup winner. The guy is an out and out winner, why are the RFU treating him like a scapegoat for their own mistakes.

  • Comment number 42.

    So it was just one night out and we should forget it and just think about the good things he did?

    You seem to have confused yourself about an 18 year old kid at the the first weekend after he gets a paid job and the Captain of the England Rugby Team at the World Cup.

    If he didn't want the job - he shouldn't have taken it. If he didn't want to be there he shouldn't have gone. If he wasn't prepared to act like a senior player and captain then he should have had the decency to say so and let someone who cared take the job.

    I'm sorry that he decided to end his career by acting stupidly, unprofessionally and insultingly towards all the fans who were behind the team.

    He decided to bow out on an inglorious low. His choices, his fault, his punishment. He is the only one to blame.

    Is the fine too much? I'd have done far worse if I'd been in charge and sent the drunken Tindall home along with anyone who showed any support for his actions.

    Personally I think all these lunatics who are supporting him are the reason why so called professional sports people still act like idiotic teenagers.

    Poor ole Mike? Yeah well thanks for nothing Mr Tindall from all of those supporters who paid a fortune to go to the world cup to support you and cheer you on and you couldn't behave properly for 2 weeks?? Did he play badly because he had been on a bender? Don't know but I'll bet it didn't make him play better!!!!

  • Comment number 43.

    There is no doubt the RFU have completed bungled their handling of this whole mess, which, let's face it, is no surprise. As #36points out, Tindall has given up a huge amount of time, effort and looks in order to serve his country on the field. However, all he had to do was not go out and behave like an idiot for one month. Not too much to ask for a professional athlete you'd imagine! If (and it's a pretty big one) these elite athletes can't go for that long without 'letting off steam' then why, when they do, go to a rough bar full of prospective bean-spillers and not do it in the safe environment of the overpriced hotel in which they are staying? If this was enough, the following debacle of schoolboy justifications and embarrassing press conferences only highlighted the deficiencies of both player and management. As far as I'm concerned Tindall deserves everything he gets at the moment, it's only a shame the RFU don't get twice as much.

  • Comment number 44.

    @ 42 Phil.

    You seem to of confused rugby with something that matters. It's only sport.

  • Comment number 45.

    The team lacked leadership throughout which is very surprising with Martin at the helm. Moody shouldnt have been captained. Haskell talked like a captain and occasionally played like one but he is far too immature and seems not to have grown up from his sixth form days (if you know the reference). Tindall acted poorly no doubts and should have been disciplined.

    The whole step up was wrong. I;d say Johnson should go sadly and an experienced coach comes in.

  • Comment number 46.

    I think the royal connection should not be underplayed. The chances are that were he not a recent addition to the 'Family' he would have been on the first flight home.

  • Comment number 47.

    He got off lightly, should have been sent to the Tower.
    The man is an idiot, he certainly won't be BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
    The article is correct though, Johnson and the management team should have taken action in NZ.
    Johnson should now be sacked for his part in a dismal WC.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    The one thing going for all these former players masquerading as media "experts" have in common - they never got caught.

    I wonder how many of the "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" contributors have actually played the game from anywhere less cosy than their armchairs?

    So let's all play the great English game of sticking our "heroes" on pedistals and then spend years trying our best to knock them off. Turn that into an olympic sport and we'd get gold every time!

  • Comment number 50.

    Alastair Eykyn could you please have a word with John Beattie and ask him why he closes his blog to comments after 24 hours? Noone else on the BBC website does this as far as I know. I was going to comment on a post made yesterday and apparently I'm too late.

  • Comment number 51.

    rsuppards
    So let's all play the great English game of sticking our "heroes" on pedistals and then spend years trying our best to knock them off.
    ===========

    No need, the players don't need any help, they do it themselves.

  • Comment number 52.

    Why the angst at this? Great player? - not even close. Great captain? - not in the top 100 Home Nations list. Great role model? - erm. Great anything? No. Move on to the jungle.

  • Comment number 53.

    Personally I thought the behaviour of Haskell and Ashton to be worse. Their idea of light-hearted banter was totally out of order and brought real shame on the England team

  • Comment number 54.

    Does anyone know if the way these players behaved is any different to previous cups/tours, or has the media just given them no space this time? Ignorance is bliss..

    The fine seems way too steep for sure but I don't want my English rugby going the way of football..I want to be proud of English rugby and it's players.

  • Comment number 55.

    What did Tindall actually do? As far as I am aware, he went out for a couple of drinks and was kissed on the top of the head by an old girl friend... for that he was fined £25k. I think that is a bit over the top!

  • Comment number 56.

    As a Welsh suppoter Tindall COMITTED TWO SINS
    1. As a Captain he did not lead by example,getting drunk aint o.k. anymore.
    2. He LIED to M.J. about the second bar he was in After Martin Johnson defended him to the media .If he was that pi.sed then thats as bad as not not remembering.
    As an aside most Welsh suppoters would be keen to have him in opposition.Over the hill gang.

  • Comment number 57.

    I see the usual suspects are out in force again with their anti English bandwagon!
    Hands on hips and stamping feet in righteous indignation! "..Serve's them right!!!"
    " Should've been more...by gad!!!" "Hang em!!!"

    One post happily tells us, "I don't like Rugby. I don't watch it." and is oh so sad for the royal family. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat!!!!

    People seem quite happy to rush to the defense of a tackle that can drive someone through the floor with potentially catastrophic consequences , then stand back aghast having heard that "rugby players" were seen at a bar!!! And some of them actually had a bit of jovial banter with a female receptionist at their hotel!!!!!!
    My goodness!
    "Oooooo, 'innie bold? Ooooo, yers ever so bold Mr 'Orne!!!" "Everso bold!"

    What ARE you people on? Get a grip! Remember a quote from a certain rugby international, "...we're not playing tiddleywinks y'know!"

    This was a fit up from start to finish. The gutter press were out to scrape up anything from the floor and smear it all over the England side as soon as they could and of course the usual suspects were there to fan the fire.

    MJ was right. There was nothing in this and it should have been left to die on the sole of the players boots as they ran out. Now the snyde's are out and reveling in it.

    Sadly, you only have to read the brief bio of the author of this blog to get an understanding of how it works. " My job also involves having my nose to the ground for all the interesting rugby stories"

    Then pretends to write a concerned blog about English rugby.

    Say's it all.

  • Comment number 58.

    Crucifixion time again? Lets look at it again WE ALL base our opinion on events at the other side of the world. Where do we all get our info from? Reports from the press are they true, reports from the BBC are they true or are they fabricated to make the story more grandiose than they are to sell print or to get people to watch tv!! If we are not there then we should not base our opinions of what happened or didnt on mere speculation/journalism !!! We should base comments on facts which we never really do.
    The RFU got it wrong at the time. They should have taken immediate action if it was so bad and fined/dropped or sent him home as has happened in other sports.
    It is no good after a poor campaign doing things weeks later you have to do something at the time. They did not and now around the world we yet again send out a bad message, or do we?
    I suppose it will be down to the press to make their comments and put whatever twists on it they want. Whatever happened at the end of the day it is down to Mike and Zara and as ever the Royal Family will keep a dignified silence ! But in 10 yrs if they are still together what a Silly episode this will seem amid all the speculation and comments that have been made!!!! Good luck to you both and continue to prosper in your chosen sports!!?

  • Comment number 59.

    Would Tindall have been fined £25K if he wasn't married to a Royal. Rob Andrew is trying to divert the spotlight. How about fines for RFU ?

  • Comment number 60.

    This is an absolute despicable way to treat a player and confirms everything said on a previous blog about the hypocritical old farts that run the RFU. Rob Andrew taking the heat of his own backside as per usual.

    Would this have happened if he was a promising 24 year old with the promise of a player such as Rhys Preistland or Scott Williams and not a washed up 35 year old? No of course not. Some people say on this blog they don't like the guy. I don't know too much about him off the field but he always came across as a likeable enough bloke on post-match interviews. Regardless this is unashamed scapegoating of the worst kind and I feel very sorry that a guy who has played 75 games for his country and captained it should have his career brought to an end in this fashion.

  • Comment number 61.

    As a fringe member of the Royal Family what did this idiot think he could get away with ? This is the RFU under pressure from The Establishment putting its house in order. This country expects its sports men and women to uphold some rules of decency and decorum, and as such Tindall should know and have realised that all his actions , newly married to a Royal, would be under scrutiny especially from the worlds press, from whom there is no escape or so it seems. Obviously the Queen's advisers could see what was going on and Wifey was dispatched to sort things out.
    A sad end to a career that better managed could have been more successful than it was, a poor swan song, but did he really think that he was to carry on as if still a single man and get away with it ? more fool him if he did.
    The fine is fine and fits the crime, and he can no doubt afford it, at 33 years of age its time to knuckle down and be a man, and you have to think about that, 33, newly married, carrying top responsibility in an all important event, in front of the world, hardly low profile is it, talk about blotting the copy book. Idiot.

  • Comment number 62.

    I do feel this is a fair call in that as a role model of the game he should know how to behave.

  • Comment number 63.

    @56. forfreelike

    Good to see that puctuation and grammar are still being taught in Wales.

  • Comment number 64.

    Tindall has been one of the most overrated players to ever to play for England. All he was ever good for was simple crash ball to get us over the gain line and when he couldn't do that anymore i always wondered why we stuck with him. Will Greenwood carried him through the 2003 competition and I for one am pleased to see the back of him it's time to bring some new blood through.

    Saying this though we still have never found a replacement for Greenwood who was so intelligent on the pitch and so assured with ball in hand you never felt like he was going to do a thing wrong.

    Goodbye Tindall, thanks for the good times and all the best for the future.

  • Comment number 65.

    Needs a proper clear-out at the RFU, clubs need to exert their influence and make sure the coaches and that slippery Rob Andrew go and quickly too.

  • Comment number 66.

    There was some disgraceful behaviour by the England players in New Zealand and this punishment, although heavy should hopefully stop this sort of thing happening again. There is a point that a player of his age and experience has been treated harshly but equally a player of his experience should have known better.

  • Comment number 67.

    This is a very sad business and continues to make a laughing stock of England Rugby. His behaviour cannot be condoned, but it was staggeringly badly handled by Johnson and the whole management team, for which Rob Andrew has considerable responsibility - he should go as well.

    The war between the players and the RFU exemplifies how far adrift England Rugby is. As for Tindall being a fine centre, he was never more than just a "punch it through the middle son and hope for the best" - how many British Lions caps did he get? I think the answer to that shows where he stood in world rankings - nowhere.

    A very sorry tale and England must move forward with a new team - management and players. Their arrogance and contempt for everyone else does us no favours at all. Dour, grinding rugby should be consigned to history.

  • Comment number 68.

    3 Points:

    1: Tindall should never have been selected for the WC, he is an average club player.
    2: The England team let their country down both on and off the field.
    3: Johnson, Tindall, Moody, Wilkinsen, Cueto, Thompson all need to retire.

    THEN...and only then will England be the super power they should be!

  • Comment number 69.

    Simply disgraceful decision and extremely poorly handled. This is an attempt to cover up the shambles the management made when handling what should have been dealt with in New Zealand.

    If Tindall's indiscretions were worth 25k and a essentially enforced retirement he should have been sent home rather than have his manager steadfastly back the man.

    This is Rob Andrew covering his behind whilst once again undermining the England Manager. It appears to be his only skill.

    Loyalty is still worth something. The "sending a message" could have been achieved by having a word in his ear about retiring. This is just petty ill conceived revenge for making the RFU look stupid. If there were punishments for that, the entire board would have to resign.

    As for all those "Tindall's rubbish" merchants. Yes his best days may be behind him. But he's won a world cup. Something that no other northern hemisphere centre has managed. At his best he was a fearfully direct runner when that was not the norm. As a foil for the more skilled Greenwood he created space in the same way that a certain Mr Roberts does at his best for the Welsh and the Lions now.

    I wish Mr Tindall well in his exile from the English set up. I hope his appeal succeeds and he rubs the noses of the RFU in it. I'll miss him far more than say Rob Andrew.

  • Comment number 70.

    All I shall say is - it should have been done sooner than this.

  • Comment number 71.

    Rubbernutz - no need for nasty racist comments

  • Comment number 72.

    Oops apart from the magnificent greenwood of course.

  • Comment number 73.

    What exactly did Mike Tindall do that was so wrong? I've read the headlines but for the life of me can't so what the crime is.

  • Comment number 74.

    I haven't read all the posts, as I don't want to end up arguing with other posters, but as a Welshman, and not particularly a big fan of Mike Tindall, I think he has been very harshly treated and seems to have been made the complete scapegoat for England's RWC performance. The CCTV footage of his "night out" does not portray exactly what happened, I believe he was stupid at best, he certainly did not appear to be rolling around drunk and feel he has been totally vilified by the media.

    Lets compare what happened to him with what Ashton and Haskell 'allegedly' did by verbally abusing a hotel maid with apparent sexual innuendos....... what would have happened if the maid had decided to take it further? It must have been serious for Martin Johnson to make them publicly apologise................. and they, in comparison to Tindall have appeared to get away 'scott-free'

    If Tindall's offence was serious enough to warrant expulsion from the Elite Squad, then surely MJ should go as well as the ultimate responsibility for the squads' behaviour surely lay firmly at his feet!!

    Is Rob Andrew making a bid for the RFU top job with this stunt??

  • Comment number 75.

    I am alone in not really knowing what Tindall has actually done wrong? The lads went out for some beers and guffed around, but did they break any laws or anything? Not as far as I'm aware. Though I'm sure the press were desperate to make it look that way. As Johnno said at the time "rugby player drinks beer, shocker!"

    Anyone who knows the slightest thing about rugby will tell you why England did not win the world cup. Firstly, they do not at present have the best players. How many of them would make it into the 2003 team? And secondly because the whole set up is badly managed by the higher echelons of the RFU. Every single person who comes out the other side says as much when they become free to talk about it (see Simon Halliday most recently).

    People go on and on about needing flair players in the backs. There may be some youngsters coming through but in the meantime there is little Johnson can do than play to the England team's strengths. Despite how frustrating this may make it to watch at times, and how disappointing it is that players like Matt Tait haven't fulfilled their potential, Tindall was still probably the best option overall. People may whine that he's rubbish - they are wrong, he's not a flair player but his positional play is excellent and he is a rock in defence. Folk who don't realise this are the same folk who bleet "RUN IT!" and "DON'T KICK IT!" at the TV screen down the boozer when the best option IS to either kick it or hold the ball up in the forwards.

    The one ever present since 2003 who has never stood up and taken responsibility for any of England's perceived problems is Rob Andrew. How is he still in position? I cannot believe that the RFU do not stand up and take some responsibility and lay the blame for failure at the player's doors (this is basically what has happened here). How does that help? (it doesn't) Will they play any better? (nope) Will the players be under less pressure? (nope) Will the incompetent RFU bods live to fight another day? (probably) Hooray, another victory for corporate rugby.

    As is also the case with the FA and the England football team the governing body needs to stand up, take responsibility for the failures and be prepared to comprehensively and radically change the way they organise their operations in a creative manner rather than copying what the nations perceived as successful do and relying on the established empire builders.

  • Comment number 76.

    It is hard to argue that Tindall does not deserve some punishment but the fine does seem excessive. Nevertheless, as England captain and a very experienced international, he should have had more awareness of his responsibilities and exclusion from the squad is appropriate. It is unlikely that he will regain his place but we should not forget his contribution to Englands cause over the years.

  • Comment number 77.

    @63................ Rubbernutz..................

    ................... I'm Welsh............... you are, as your name suggests!!
    Do you keep your brains in them?

    Apologies for getting involved in an argument, but stick to the point of the blog please!!

  • Comment number 78.

    humm...this posting thing is proving harder trhan I would have imagined. Right, 3rd time lucky....

    I would have thought that the alleged ball tampering/changing by the 2 coaches was a far worse rugby crime and would merit a greater sanction than that of Tindall who, though his action was at best foolish, sinned more against his wife than the RFU. His punnishment seems to be dispropotionate to the crime.

  • Comment number 79.

    Tindell deserves all he gets.

  • Comment number 80.

    I agree with #75. Tindall is being made a scapegoat, and he has been panned for quite some time despite the role he played in 2003, and the fact that he has developed his game to become more visual and creative since then (look back to the grubber in the warm-up games). I think England froze in the RWC, trying to play too safe and effectively losing their attacking instinct that was so prevalent even in the Six Nations. The only time we really showed it was when there was nothing to lose, which was against France when we scored twice in the second half. Whether this was the coaches, or player nerves we will never know, but their outlook was totally different from six months previously.

    Also, the world seems to love scandal these days, and if some of the reported antics genuinely shock and horrify people as much as they appear to, then we'd all have heart attacks before 30! Rugby will always be a social game where beers are sunk after matches, and the necessary on-pitch camaraderie is built this way far more so than the modern "team-building days" spent doing God knows what on various activities that are potentially far more dangerous to player's fitness and health than having a few beverages. The game has been played like this for well over a century, so 15 years of professionalism won't change it a jot, and never will, because the amateur game that players come from still relies heavily on this.

    I think people need to grow up and respect the fact that while the players are more in the spotlight and therefore have more responsibility, they are also under far more pressure than any of us have ever experienced, and they have to wind down somehow, as it is impossible to focus for 80 minutes without switching off and on between phases, never mind doing so for two months. The rugby players still seem to do it far better than footballers as a whole- I don't see any of the players coming back to the Premiership playing with tags in their boots because of rape, drugs, or assault allegations/charges... and that is despite the fact that at worst, a footballer takes a month to earn what a rugby player does... a bit of perspective, please?

  • Comment number 81.

    Surely the level of punishment indicates that Johnson should have sent him home. Lying to Queen's solicitor was not a great follow up to his indiscretions. England should really have had a general manager to back up the coach on such issues. The continuing 'we don't care comments' of the players cf Lawes today sow the whole set up in a poor light. If he should have been sent home, Johnson is not in a good position - power vacuum at RFU apart. Did this all start with the antics during his no show in NZ in 2008?

  • Comment number 82.

    We have a bad culture of inducing fear in our internationals, historically in football now in rugby and i'm sure the cricket team will get taken down a peg or two soon.

    This poor handling of a minor incident could set back rugby for several years. We need big clearouts at all levels in Football and Rugby to get rid of our inhibitions. If not we'll only ever have the one off blips of success (1966, 2003, the recent ashes). What can we learn from 25 years of Alex Ferguson or the turnaround of Spanish football for example?

  • Comment number 83.

    I bet he is off the Queens Christmas card list, after the embarrassment caused to the BuckHouse mob, definitely not trusted to walk the Corgi's any more either.

    What's the betting he turns up as a pundit for the well know satellite broadcaster, and they will pay him loads just to get back at the Brits for not letting murky Murdo Murdock have his way with Sky. I hope the RFU see sense and keep their TV rights with BBC and ITV

  • Comment number 84.

    I believe the phrase is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

    Yes Tindall should have been disciplined...as should all of the England players who ought to have know better than to revel in the off-pitch limelight rather than focusing their efforts on the work (yes, it is work) at hand, but it should have happened at the time.

    The RFU is an absolute disgrace, a mess of pointless bureaucracy and self-important officials on the make, too inflated with their own station to have any consideration for the team.

    Whilst I respect Johnson as a player and a man, the cult of personality around him is one of stifling fear - he is surrounded by incompetence, yes men and has no direct authority above him. How was a new and inexperienced coach ever supposed to flourish in such circumstances and how was a team high of youthful hope supposed to develop? Some of his selections have bordered on the suicidally conservative, but he has not been helped by a scavenging nest of vipers above him.

    If the RFU are hoping that fining Tindall an exorbitant amount several weeks too late will help the cause, they are sorely mistaken. More than that - they have missed the point completely. Hanging a has-been (sorry Mike, but it's been eight years since 2003), who nonetheless has served his country well in this sport, out to dry in such a manner reflects poorly only on those who've issued the reprimand. We've had weeks to digest Tindall's behaviour and that of those around him, if it had been dealt with there and then we wouldn't be talking about this. Rugby players drinking is not two month-long news.

    It's no good launching an investigation into the team. We already know what the team did. We've known about it for weeks. How about we start at the top with the sanctimonious ******* and work down, clear the old guard out and start afresh. That's not panicking - you can still stick your head in the sand and do nothing while panicking - what is required is decisive PROACTIVE (not REACTIVE) action.

    Many many swears.

  • Comment number 85.

    Tindall was never a very good player. Tackling yes ok but with limited distribution skills and other necessary outside centre skills.

    In any event, he and the entire English team conducted themselves so poorly in NZ it was a complete disgrace. They should all be fined £25,000 for making the team a laughing stock. What an utter disgrace.

    No wait Wilkinson did that with his boo-ho behaviour over the ball in his book. "My last hu-rahhh and a dig at the boys so I can get on with the next phase of my life (and earn tons of money in the mean time). No one is as good as me....." Definitely not a book I would waste a penny on.

  • Comment number 86.

    The FuzzFactory: Agreed on the culture of fear under Johnson.

    Rated solely on his performance as coach he gets a C minus. Why the RFU picked an unseasonsed coach for the national team is beyond me. He should have been put into a structured coaching set-up and only then if he performed should he have got a shot at the big job.

    He may be good but based on what we seen so far, he is still too inexperienced.

  • Comment number 87.

    If ever there was a clearer sign that we need to get rid of Rob Andrew than this I don't know it. First off what exactly does the guy do? Next his position and the RFU themselves have caused more embarrassment for English rugby than a team of Tindalls could do. To me this smacks of a stitch up job aimed to show the following things

    1. The RFU at the moment is rocked with scandal and infighting. This is an incredibly weak attempt to show they can deal with this.
    2. England's performance at the world cup was poor. Rather than blaming the teams performance and set up the RFU have chosen to pick a scapegoat. Step forward Mike Tindall.
    3. The RFU seems to be partially punishing Tindall for the any embarrassment caused to the Royal family for some reason.
    4. The RFU have decided to offer someone up to the tabloids to show they're tough on bad behaviour. Tindall was at risk of being dropped anyway and at the end of his career. They can't drop Haskell or Ashton (both of whom did far worse than Tindall) or Tuilagi or Hartley. Step forward fall guy Mike Tindall.

    Seems to me Rob Andrew has decided he can wrap a whole lot of things up and demonstrate a whole bunch of things simply by heavy handedly punishing one player at the end of his career. A player who, at the end of the day, has picked up 75 caps for England and given years of service. A player that deserved better than this as a way to see out his international career. A player who at the end of the day had a few too many drinks on a night out where players had been given a pass, then got hung out by a scandal seeking press partially because who his wife is.

    The RFU should be hanging their head in shame over this. Good luck on the appeal Mike every decent rugby fan is backing you.

  • Comment number 88.

    Isn't rugby all about blokes, beer and socialising after the game, and regardless of the occasion, who you're married to, or who you're playing for, isn't it likely that now again the 'men will be blokes' culture finds an outlet? It's bizzare that England even have a system that makes public the 'wrongdoers' sentence, a case of acting in exactly the same way as the bloke getting punished.

  • Comment number 89.

    The punishment could be seen to be disproportionate. The question that comes to mind is whether it would it have been so harsh had Tindall not been married to a royal? Nonetheless, his actions were entirely inappropriate for a professional sportsman representing his country on the world stage.

  • Comment number 90.

    MJ made clear the stance of the management when he stated during the tour that the WC winning side of 2003 regularly went out to celebrate with a few beers.

    The difference is that they were good enough to perform after drinking. This current side definitely is not.

    In making that statement, MJ sent out mixed messages that "traditional" rugby behaviour would be tolerated.

    The side (in defeat), and Tindall (in punishment), all got what was coming to them.

    But still MJ is in charge. I hope he is a good enough manager to learn from this, and not allow the up-and-coming youngsters to p**s away their careers.

    Let's see what we're all blogging in four years' time.

  • Comment number 91.

    Personally I think this is better late than never, this needed to be done before Tindall could regain some status by announcing his retirement from international rugby and its a shame the other miscreants during the tournament were not punished as severely. The action begs a couple of questions though:

    Firstly, the fact that it is Rob Andrew dishing out the punishment now suggests he is grandstanding as a tactic to hold on to a senior position as things start to change at the top of the RFU

    Secondly, its a slap in the face for Johnson for doing nothing at the time apart from defending the guilty so doesn't bode well for him if he even wants to continue as Manager

  • Comment number 92.

    We must remember that Tindall has been dropped and fined not because he went out on the large and behaved like a prat, but because he subsequently misled his management and the public about what happened afterwards.

    It's not like the England players and management were innocents abroad - it was only three and a bit years ago that an under-performing and similarly misbehaving England team visited New Zealand, and managed to get themselves caught up in all sorts of shenanigans. One episode involved an allegation of sexual misconduct that caught the attention of the police, and Johnson was reportedly furious with the team and vowed to clean up their act.

    That they were allowed to carry on the way they did under the huge microscope of British and other press/media/cellphones/Twitter etc beggars belief. The perception in New Zealand was very much that this was Tindall's stag-do and the way the English players behaved off and on the field made it difficult to argue with that assessment.

  • Comment number 93.

    How dreadful for this guy! He has been let down by the rugby authorities and if any crime was committed, the punishment far exceeds it! I want the rugby guys to win, men on tour are pumped full of testosterone, so as long as no one is hurt then what is all the fuss? Is Rugby Union still run by the old boy network, come on these days the emphasis has to be on the 80 minutes not how they are on a night out in a bar! Shame!

  • Comment number 94.

    I honestly think when you play for your country, you should set an example. The pride of your nation is on yours and your team mates shoulders. Be proud to represent your team, your nation, do it holding your head high. You can have fun, but within boundaries, during a World Cup, drinking and clubbing should have no place though, its just 6 weeks in your life to showcase your skills and sporting prowess. The same could also be said for Englands Football World Cup team though.

  • Comment number 95.

    I agree he made some poor choices off the field - but on the pitch has put his body on the line time and time again......
    This smacks of a convenient smokescreen for very and poor management team to hide behind.
    Messrs Andrew and Johnson should take a good hard long look at themselves and do the decent thing - both greats on the pitch but somewhat suspect in current roles. Lets get a management team with a bit of nous in that has the ability to lead and get the best out of a good group of players.

  • Comment number 96.

    Justice and fairness aren't always the same thing. There are many players who have got away with worse things, and there will be more, and there have been many players who have suffered more dire punishments for lesser transgressions, and there will be more. Consider the situation of Giteau, for instance: his career has been shot to rags but there was no hearing, no charge even - and no appeal. He's a real talent, by the way, but that is beside the point. Quibbling about justice will never assure fairness.

    Ideally, 'though, these things should be handled so that there will be a little latitude for quibbling as possible. I am one who cannot see the relevance of whom he is married to except to journalists whose least interest is rugby, but there is no other way of explaining the lack of proportion in the sentences. Unless, that is, there's more we're not being told, but even so - and that is speculation, anyway - the door has been opened for unfortunate controversy.

    However, considering what these young men are paid, I'm not one to object to heavy fines. Let's be brutally honest: in every team there are players who are over-paid and players who are under-paid, measured against their performance on the pitch. I'm as clear as anyone else as to which category Tindall has never graced, and given the additional privelege of senior standing, it doesn't seem unreasonable to have expected him to mind his p's and q's off the pitch. However, that too is beside the point in considering the handling of the case.

    This I do know: his absence won't in and of itself spark the appearance of a match-winning new talent. But that is a different matter altogether.

  • Comment number 97.

    The actions of the RFU are both inconsistent and unfair - not to mention tardy. Tindall's behaviour was inappropriate and I'm sure he's fully aware of that too. After his sustained contribution to English rugby he deserved better than this.

  • Comment number 98.

    Clearly the Welsh set the example of how to deal with a World Cup in terms of preparation and behaviour whilst abroad. It is a fairly simple formula so why can't our players grasp the idea - train to peak physical condition prior to the tournament and then for six weeks go without drinking / partying / getting in trouble.

    On the other hand Rob Andrew and the rest of them are utterly incompetent. Their decision to ban Tindall and not the other players shows inconsistency and, frankly, cowardice. You either ban the lot for a length of time or none. But no, banning the other players would weaken the side whilst banning Tindall gives them an excuse to blood some new talent and shelve the old guard. It's pretty disgusting actually.

    I'm no longer much of a fan of England in its current incarnation. The management at the time didn't look like they were going to give a real rollicking to the players, probably because they are too close to most of them. I can't remember the last time I saw any coach move from the standard line 'there are areas we can improve on but I thought, as a whole, we did ok'. It would be refreshing to hear one of them say 'I'm pretty sickened by that performance, too slow to the breakdown, lethargy all over the pitch, I'm sorry I've got to cut this interview short but I'm off to the changing room to give the lot of them a good old fashioned a** kicking'. Our rugby players are now treated with the same kid gloves as our footballers.

  • Comment number 99.

    Got friends out in Queenstown and it's a small place where everyone knows everyone. A bit of a bubble! Was told that Tindall was that drunk he at to be picked up 3 times. Not good! Anyone out for the world cup would have seen players out all the time, from all nations but you have to have some respect when representing your nation! Which i think most did, few drinks out and a walk round town no harm. Can't live in a hotel for 2 months drive you nuts!
    Having said that he does seem to have been made scapegoat by Andrews.

  • Comment number 100.

    35. At 20:55 11th Nov 2011, HT-Hotspur wrote:
    "I don't like Rugby. I don't watch it. So I can't judge Mike Tindall as a player. However, as a man who is married into the Royal Family - he has no doubt in my mind brought massive shame to their grand and wonderful reputation. I cannot believe that Zara Phillips (the Queen's Granddaughter) married this "CHAV". And that is exactly what he is - a CHAV! And his behaviour off the pitch has proved such. "

    Please telle me that this post was meant to be ironic - or have you not looked at the behaviour of the royal family over the last 20 years. Compared with the antics of Charles and Andy, Tindall going out and getting drubk is tame.
    As for a chav marrying into the Royal family - take a look at Di or Fergie.

    Personally I would be slightly more annoyed if he was married into a family who actually pay for their tickets to the rugby

 

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