Mike Tindall removed from England squad

Further scandal engulfs England rugby camp as their former captain is dropped and fined for his behaviour in New Zealand

    England's Tindall (L) now looks unlikely to add to his 75 caps after a wild night out in Queenstown [GALLO/GETTY] 

    Mike Tindall may have played his last match for England after the veteran center was dropped and fined on Friday for his infamous night out in Queenstown during the Rugby World Cup.

    The 33-year-old Tindall, who led England for much of the past year while regular captain Lewis Moody was injured, was removed from his country's elite player squad and fined $40,000 for breaching team discipline in New Zealand.

    Tindall and other players visited a bar hosting races between dwarves during the September 11 drinking session, with mobile phone photos of the night posted by the public on social networking sites.

    "Mike Tindall's actions reached a level of misconduct that was unacceptable in a senior England player and amounted to a very serious breach of the EPS code of conduct"

    RFU rugby director Rob Andrew

    Little more than a month after marrying Zara Phillips - Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughter - the burly back was also captured on security footage in a compromising situation with another woman and later admitted to misleading
    team officials when questioned about the evening.

    "Mike Tindall's actions reached a level of misconduct that was unacceptable in a senior England player and amounted to a very serious breach of the EPS code of conduct,'' Rugby Football Union professional rugby director Rob Andrew said.

    "Whilst we acknowledge his previous good character, it needs to be made clear that what he did will not be tolerated.''

    The incident came on the first night of a five-day break between games in the alpine resort, 24 hours after England's opening win over Argentina.

    Players were not banned from socialising but had been warned against overindulgence and the potential for finding themselves in contentious situations.

    Unbelievable naivety

    Flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson, who won the 2003 World Cup alongside Tindall and was part of the squad in New Zealand, expressed his dismay at the incident in an excerpt of his autobiography in a British newspaper this week.

    "What I cannot understand is the naivety of people going out to the extent they did and it not crossing their minds it would find its way back to the media,'' Wilkinson said in The Times.

    "We've already been warned several times about what it's like here, especially in the World Cup.

                Dylan Hartley was cleared of any wrongdoing after RFU investigation [GALLO/GETTY]

    "You need to be a little reserved, careful, aware. With a camera on pretty much every phone these days, how could it not come back?"

    Tindall has played 75 times for England and has been a regular since 2000, but his performances have recently been cited by fans and commentators as symptomatic of England's reliance on strength over technique.

    Wing Chris Ashton and back-row James Haskell were each warned and given a suspended fine of $8,000 over an incident on September 9 in which they were accused of making lewd comments toward a female worker in a player's hotel room in Dunedin.

    Hooker Dylan Hartley was cleared of any misconduct with regards to the incident.

    "The allegations of very serious wrongdoing made against Chris Ashton, Dylan Hartley and James Haskell... were entirely false,'' Andrew said.

    "We do not believe the players had any intention to sexually harass or intimidate.

    "However, the incident is precisely the kind of dangerous, compromising situation the players were warned about prior to departure for New Zealand and that they were specifically told to avoid in the EPS code of conduct.''



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