Mike Tindall fined $40,000 and expelled from England's elite rugby squad
The husband of British queen's granddaughter punished for drunken night out
Tindall said he would appeal the decisions
Two teammates given suspended fines after earlier incident at hotel during World Cup
A rugby star married into British royalty has been punished for his controversial off-field antics during the recent World Cup in New Zealand.
Mike Tindall was fined £25,000 ($40,000) Friday and expelled from England’s elite squad for his conduct on September 11 in Queenstown. He said he would appeal the decisions.
The 33-year-old, who married Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Zara Phillips in July, was caught on security cameras in close conversation with another woman during a night out drinking.
He later said she was a friend, but the incident erupted in the British media and disrupted England’s on-field focus.
“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,” England’s professional rugby director Rob Andrew said in a statement Friday.
“Whilst we acknowledge his previous good character, it needs to be made clear that what he did will not be tolerated.”
Tindall was a World Cup winner in 2003 and a stand-in team captain during his 11-year international career, which may now be at an end.
He was one of three players found guilty of off-pitch indiscretions during a review of England’s tournament, which culminated in a quarterfinal exit.
Chris Ashton and James Haskell were given suspended fines of £5,000 ($8,000) after an incident at the team’s hotel in Dunedin on September 9. Dylan Hartley, however, was cleared of being involved after they were all accused of making inappropriate comments to a female hotel worker.
“It should be stressed that the allegations of very serious wrongdoing made by Annabel Newton, a member of staff at the team hotel, were entirely false. We do not believe the players had any intention to sexually harass or intimidate Ms. Newton,” Andrew said.
“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 Code of Conduct.”
England’s tournament was marred by a series of off-field incidents.
The night that Tindall was seen with the woman, some of his teammates were pictured wrestling with dwarves at the same bar.
Manu Tuilagi was fined after jumping into the sea from a ferry in Auckland the day after England’s quarterfinal defeat by France. The Samoa-born center was also cautioned by police and criticized by head coach Martin Johnson for his actions.
Tuilagi was earlier fined by tournament officials for using a non-sanctioned branded mouthguard.
Two of Johnson’s assistants were banned from the team’s final Pool B match against Scotland for illegally switching the match ball during a 67-3 win over Romania.