Mike Tindall

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Michael Tindall
Mike Tindall 2011.jpg
Birth nameMichael James Tindall
Date of birth (1978-10-18) 18 October 1978 (age 41)
Place of birth Otley, West Yorkshire, England
Height1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight102 kg [1] (220 lb)
School Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield
(m. 2011)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre
Senior career
Bath Rugby
Gloucester Rugby
National team(s)
2000–2011 England 75 (74)

Michael James Tindall, MBE (born 18 October 1978) is an English former rugby union player. Tindall played outside centre for Bath and Gloucester, and won 75 caps for England between 2000 and 2011. He was a member of the England squad which won the 2003 World Cup.


He made his debut for England on 5 February 2000, against Ireland in the 2000 Six Nations Championship. As well as winning the 2003 World Cup, he was a member of the England team which won the 2003 Six Nations Championship. He was injured at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. In total, Tindall played in eleven Six Nations Championship competitions from 2000 to 2011.

Tindall is married to Zara Phillips, the daughter of Anne, Princess Royal, and the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Early life

Tindall was born 18 October 1978 at Wharfedale Hospital in Otley, West Yorkshire, [2] the son of Linda Shepherd, a social worker,[ citation needed ] and Philip Tindall, a banker for Barclays. [3] Tindall's ancestors include, on his mother's side, bootmakers, stonemasons and weavers; on his father's side, his great-grandfather, Arthur Sutcliffe Tindall, was a blacksmith, the grandson of William Tindall, a landowner farming 105 acres at Fairburn, North Yorkshire. [4] [5] [6]

Tindall was educated at the private school Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield, while his father Phil captained Otley Rugby Union Football Club. [7] [8]



Tindall joined Bath straight from school, as an 18-year-old in 1997. At that point the centre pairing at Bath and England were Jeremy Guscott and Phil de Glanville, but after the 1999 Rugby World Cup, Tindall played regularly at both club and country level, making his England debut against Ireland at Twickenham in 2000 alongside Mike Catt.

Despite criticism over the years, in particular from Will Carling and ex-Bath fly-half Stuart Barnes, [9] he cemented the outside centre position as his own with a partnership with inside centre Will Greenwood, playing in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Tindall wore the number 12 jersey and played at outside centre, with Greenwood in the number 13; Tindall usually lined up outside Greenwood, as the latter preferred to wear the number 13 jersey for superstitious reasons. He was dropped for the semi-final in favour of Mike Catt, whose kicking was required in the rainy weather. Tindall was reinstated in the final, which England won.

Tindall missed the 2005 Six Nations with a foot injury. He was unable to regain his fitness for the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. Described by England's former head coach, Andy Robinson, as the 'heartbeat' of the side, Tindall was gradually finding his way back to form following a lengthy absence from the game during 2005.

Tindall's contract was up for renewal, but Bath had a strict salary cap policy. After falling out with Bath owner Andrew Brownsword over the offer of an early testimonial game and further concerns over his long term fitness, Tindall ended his eight-year association with Bath. He joined their West Country rivals Gloucester Rugby on a three-year deal worth £150,000. [10]


After returning from injury in the autumn of 2005, Tindall regained his England place but this time at inside centre. At club level he continued to play at 13 with the 12 shirt going to Henry Paul. The partnership was heavily criticised as being flat and boring and Tindall spent much of the season showing a poor run of form despite selection week in, week out. It wasn't until an incident at Tindall's girlfriend's birthday party that Henry Paul broke club rules and fell out of favour with Gloucester Rugby coach, Dean Ryan. This brought in the introduction of young centre Anthony Allen, which towards the end of the season helped forge the start of a very powerful centre partnership. His partnership with Jamie Noon for England was much criticised, with many people claiming that the bulky partnership lacked imagination and play-making ability. [11] Tindall has a strong cult following however, and is often nicknamed "The Fridge" due to his sizeable bulk.

Mike Tindall with the Webb Ellis Cup Mike Tindall Webb Ellis.JPG
Mike Tindall with the Webb Ellis Cup

During his recuperation from another injury in 2005, Tindall entered the British Poker Open tournament, finishing in 3rd place in his heat before being eliminated by John Gale. On 18 November 2006 Tindall made his first Guinness Premiership start of the season against third-placed Wasps. Troubled by a calf injury so far into the 2006/07 season, he had made only two appearances as a replacement, against Worcester and Irish. [12] Tindall came back from his injury however with a much more highly rated run of form.

Tindall was again included in the England starting line up for the 2007 Six Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham, under new head coach Brian Ashton, selected to play outside former rugby league footballer Andy Farrell.

In April 2007 playing away against Newcastle Falcons in the Guinness Premiership, Tindall broke his leg in a tackle on Toby Flood and this forced him to miss the rest of the season, including the Guinness Premiership final. This also precluded his selection for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. [13]

In October 2007, after recovering from injury, Tindall returned to the Gloucester starting line up, against Worcester Warriors at home, in the Guinness Premiership. Tindall had a fairytale comeback, scoring a try to the Shed's delight.

On 7 December 2007 against Bourgoin in the Heineken Cup, Tindall limped off the field with a shin injury sustained in a similar tackle from that against Newcastle the previous season when he broke his leg. Despite this injury, Tindall recovered quickly and played the following week, continuing his form for Gloucester.

In February 2008 Tindall was named in England head coach Brian Ashton's squad for the upcoming Six Nations Championship, and thus started for England at outside centre against Wales at Twickenham on 2 February 2008. During the match, he was accidentally kicked in the chest by winger Mark Jones and had to be stretchered off. He had attempted to win possession just as Jones was kicking the ball away. He was ruled out of the tournament with internal bleeding and a perforated liver. [14]

Tindall stated in a press conference that he was happy just to be alive after his injury, but was looking forward to returning to the field for Gloucester in what he hoped would be towards the "business end of the season" (April). In January 2008, Tindall announced a new three-year deal signed to remain at Gloucester until the end of the 2011 season. In April 2012, Gloucester announced that Tindall would be one of a group of 11 players not playing for the club next season. [15] However, in June 2012, he agreed a one-year contract as a player and backs coach at Gloucester. [16] In May 2013, he signed a new contract to remain player-backs coach for another year. [17] On 15 July 2014, Tindall announced his retirement from professional rugby. [18]

Minchinhampton RFC

Since retiring, Tindall has gone back to grass roots rugby and is playing and coaching with amateur club Minchinhampton RFC, who compete in Gloucester 2. Tindall made his debut against Gloucester All Blues in October 2014. Minchinhampton RFC is conveniently located for Tindall next to Gatcombe Park where he lives. [19]

2011 Rugby World Cup misconduct

On 11 November 2011, Tindall was fined £25,000 by the Rugby Football Union and was removed from its elite player squad as a result of his throwing a dwarf in Queenstown, New Zealand during the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Martin Johnson, the England manager, had initially supported Tindall, but it later became clear that management, including Johnson, had been misled. After a formal enquiry, the RFU said that Tindall's actions were unacceptable and would not be tolerated. Tindall said he intended to appeal against the decision. [20] [21]

On 28 November 2011 the appeal partly succeeded. Tindall's suspension from the England squad was set aside and the fine was reduced to £15,000. One of the reasons given for his partially successful appeal was that he had not intentionally misled Johnson, because he did not remember the relevant events. [22]

Tindall was filmed flirting with an unknown woman at a bar in Queenstown, New Zealand, during the 2011 Rugby World Cup [23] A bouncer uploaded security camera footage of the incident to YouTube, and was later charged with accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose. [24]


Tindall was selected for the Barbarians squad on their short tour in May 2012 against England at Twickenham, Ireland at Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester and Wales at the Millennium Stadium. [25]

In May 2013, Tindall captained the Barbarians against England at Twickenham. [26] Tindall was named a replacement for the Barbarians against the British and Irish Lions as part of their 2013 tour to Australia. [27]

Personal life

On 21 December 2010, it was announced that Tindall was engaged to Zara Phillips, only daughter of Anne, Princess Royal, and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips. Phillips is the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The couple first met during the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia. [28] As required by the Royal Marriages Act 1772, since repealed, the Queen gave her consent to their marriage in a meeting of the Privy Council on 10 May 2011. [29] The wedding was held on 30 July 2011 at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, with the attendance of all senior members of the royal family. [30] [31]

On 17 January 2014, it was announced that Zara had given birth to a baby girl at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. [32] The couple named their daughter Mia Grace Tindall. Mia was christened on 30 November 2014 at St Nicholas's church in the village of Cherington in Gloucestershire. [33] Two of Zara's pregnancies ended in miscarriage, [34] before their second daughter, Lena Elizabeth Tindall, was born on 18 June 2018, at Stroud Maternity Hospital. [35] [36]

Tindall has two criminal convictions for drunk-driving. [37] [38] [39]

Tindall, whose nose was broken at least eight times during his rugby career, underwent a surgery in 2018 which fixed the fractures. [40]

Celebrity ambassador

Tindall has appeared as the host for a number of charity sporting events, including a golf classic sponsored by the Legion Foundation every year to raise money for the On Course Foundation and Rugby for Heroes. [41] In 2012, Tindall became the charity ambassador for The Midlands Air Ambulance. [42]

In late 2013, Tindall became a brand ambassador for online trading company UFXMarkets. [43] Since 2013, Tindall has been hosting a charity golf day annually called ISPS HANDA Mike Tindall Celebrity Golf Classic with people from fields including rugby, golf and entertainment. [44] [45] It aims to raise funds for charities helping people with disabilities and curing Parkinson's disease, such as the Matt Hampson Foundation and the Cure Parkinson's Trust, and also those involving military personnel making the transition to civilian life such as Rugby for Heroes. [46] [47] Tindall is also the principal patron of both the Matt Hampson Foundation and Rugby for Heroes. [48] [49]

In April 2015 Tindall became a brand ambassador for online bookmaker Betway. [50]

Tindall has been increasing his involvement with Right To Play since his introduction to their work in 2015. In October 2015, he visited one of their programmes in Accra, Ghana, which he said had a profound effect on him. [51] In December 2016, Tindall was announced as an Athlete Ambassador for the charity Right To Play UK, [52] which uses play to educate and empower children to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease in disadvantaged communities.

In January 2018, he participated in And They're Off! in aid of Sport Relief. [53]

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