Mike Tindall: the blonde, the dwarfs and the Queen
You couldn’t make it up: rugby captain groped NZ blonde at dwarf-throwing contest, claims the Sun
SO MUCH for the old rugby adage 'What goes on tour, stays on tour'. As far as England rugby captain - and grandson-in-law to the Queen - Mike Tindall is concerned, it's a case of what goes on tour ends up splashed across the Sun.
Britain's best-selling tabloid this morning carries the sort of exclusive that hasn't been seen since the heady days when Kelvin MacKenzie edited the paper. Tindall, the Sun says, "kissed and groped a blonde beauty in a nightspot while watching a dwarf-throwing contest".
While dwarf-lovers everywhere will be reassured to learn that neither Tindall nor any of his England teammates joined in the throwing, the Sun alleges that the newest member of the Royal Family couldn't keep his hands to himself when it came to the gorgeous blonde.
The paper claims that Tindall was seen "kissing and groping" the woman, who then rubbed the 30-year-old's face into her ample cleavage. The Sun quotes an unnamed source as saying: "They were flirting with each other and getting very touchy-feely. Then they went into the doorway, where the girl gestured Mike towards her chest. She pulled his head towards her breasts."
Curiously, however, while the Sun carries photos of Tindall and other players innocently enjoying themselves in the bar, there are none depicting any behaviour that might make Zara Phillips question the fidelity of her new husband.
The pair married in Edinburgh in July after an eight-year courtship and both are known to enjoy a good party. When Tindall was taken to Florida in June for his stag weekend the bar bill for one night alone exceeded £12,000.
The dwarf-throwing incident occurred at a bar in Queenstown, on New Zealand's South Island, where England headed after last Saturday's 13-9 defeat of Argentina in their first game of the World Cup. The bar in question posted several photos of the England players letting their hair down on their facebook site, but its manager has downplayed the story: "There was no scandal by any of the English rugby players that we saw," said Rich Deane. "They were great lads, not throwing the midgets, it was all light-hearted, good-humored fun."
Fun for the bar and the players perhaps, but the Kiwi press now has hold of the story and is hoping to turn it into a scandal. The New Zealand Herald has asked its readers to identity the mysterious blonde in the hope no doubt of spilling some beans on Tindall.
Meanwhile the Rugby Football Union has dismissed the story with a terse statement: "Like all the lads, Mike plays for England with a massive amount of passion and was relaxing after a tough match." But nonetheless there will be irritation within the RFU at the players' indiscretion. After all, British rugby players have 'previous' in New Zealand when it comes to unsavoury incidents.
When the British and Irish Lions toured the country in 1977 a furore erupted after 'Wanda from Wanganui' revealed to a New Zealand tabloid that she had slept with several players. 'They're Lousy Lovers! – Kiwi Girl Tells of Sex in the Lions' Den' ran the headline with the winsome Wanda, decrying the touring players' handling skills between the sheets.
When England toured New Zealand in 2008 matters were far more serious, with four players accused of raping an 18-year-old girl after meeting her in an Auckland nightclub. It later emerged that two of the players had consensual sex with the teenager but no charges were brought after the woman declined to make a formal complaint and witnesses reported seeing her leave the England team hotel in good spirits.
For the moment, England rugby fans won't really give a damn about the stories or the photos – just as long as the team keep winning. But should England fail to meet expectations in New Zealand - which means reaching the semi-finals - then the backlash will inevitably start ,with Tindall's judgment called into question. ·
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