Teammates of under-fire England captain Mike Tindall say they don’t know anything about their skipper’s alleged groping of a blonde in a Queenstown bar.
Tindall, who married royal Zara Phillips six weeks ago, is alleged to have kissed a “blonde beauty” and pressed his face into her cleavage during a boozy night out at resort nightclub Altitude last Sunday, according to English tabloid The Sun.
The newspaper claims Tindall, 30, “found himself unable to resist” the girl, who “flung himself at him” while the players – celebrating Saturday’s win against Argentina – enjoyed a “light-hearted dwarf-throwing competition”.
Hours after the news broke today, Tindall’s teammates Steve Thompson, Dan Cole, Jonny Wilkinson and Tom Croft were helicoptered in to Wakatipu High to attend a community engagement session – practising drills with the school’s First XV and Under 15 teams.
Thompson, England’s most-capped prop, tells Mountain Scene that he “doesn’t know anything” about the allegations despite being out with Tindall on the night in question.
“I haven’t heard anything. I’ve been to training and literally just jumped in a chopper and came straight here. I don’t know anything.
“We were out having a meal.”
Asked what time he got in after the night out, he says: “I don’t know, 1am, 2am something like that.”
Mountain Scene was told by Rugby World Cup officials to stop asking any more questions.
An England team spokesman has since issued a statement, saying: “Mike and several of the players were enjoying an evening out after he had led the team to a hard-earned victory over Argentina. Like all the lads he plays for England with a massive amount of passion and he was relaxing after a tough match. There will be no further comment.”
Photos posted on Altitude’s Facebook page show Tindall piling on top of teammates Dylan Hartley and Chris Ashton, while other photos show players with female fans and having fun with “midgets” at their “Mad Midget Weekender: Jelly Wrestling” night.
Altitude Bar Manager Rich Deane has today posted on his page: “Firstly: There was no dwarf throwing – that’s just not cool! Secondly: There was no scandal by any of the English Rugby Players that we saw! They were great lads, not throwing the midgets, it was all light hearted good humored fun! This is the tabloids taking photos out of context and telling silly stories.”