Mike Tindall

For the footballer who played for Aston Villa in the 1960s, see Mike Tindall (footballer).
Michael Tindall
Full name Michael James Tindall
Date of birth (1978-10-18) 18 October 1978
Place of birth Otley, West Yorkshire, England
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 102 kg[1] (220 pounds)
School Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield.
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Centre
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Bath Rugby
Gloucester Rugby
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)

Michael James "Mike" Tindall, MBE (born 18 October 1978) is a former English rugby player who played outside centre for Bath Rugby and Gloucester Rugby, has captained the England team, and was a member of the 2003 World Cup-winning squad. He is married to Zara Phillips, the daughter of the Princess Royal and the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.[2]

He participated as a contestant in the 2015 series of Bear Grylls: Mission Survive and was the runner-up after the 12-day survival mission. He currently plays for the Gloucester Division 2 team, Minchinhampton RFC.

Early life

Tindall was born 18 October 1978 in Otley, West Yorkshire, the son of Linda Shepherd, a social worker[3] and Philip Tindall, a rugby player turned banker for Barclays.[4] He was educated at the independent public school Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield, while his father Phil captained Otley.[5][6]



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 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,[7] 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 played in the number 12 jersey and played at outside centre, with Greenwood in the number 13. The shirt numbers often misled people into thinking they played the other way round, but 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, in which England were victorious.

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.[8]

Gloucester Rugby

After returning from injury in the autumn of 2005, Tindall regained his England place but this time at number 12. However 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 what became 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.[9] 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

During his recuperation from another injury in 2005, Tindall entered the prestigious 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[10] Tindall came back from his injury however with a much more highly rated run of form. His 10, 12 and 13 partnership of Ryan Lamb, Anthony Allen and himself inspired him to play more attacking and exciting rugby and since has become a Gloucester Rugby favourite. Gloucester supporters now affectionately hold him with high regard and he continued the season extremely well in helping Gloucester Rugby with his own running abilities, powerful defence and tactical kicking to top spot of the Guinness Premiership.

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 star Andy Farrell, the pair combined to make what is arguably the largest centre partnership in international history.

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, where his leadership would have been critical in a young backline. This also precluded his selection for the 2007 Rugby World Cup.[11]

In October 2007, after recovering from injury, Tindall returned to the Gloucester Rugby 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. He has since played most of Gloucester Rugby's games scoring a handful of tries including one against Ulster Rugby in the Heineken Cup, where he contributed to Gloucester Rugby setting a new record in the Tournament's history, the fastest time to score four tries and collect the try bonus point.

Tindall during 2011 RWC

On 7 December 2007 against Bourgoin in the Heineken Cup, Tindall limped off the field with a severe shin injury sustained in a similar tackle from that against Newcastle the previous season when Tindall 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 against Wales, 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.[12]

Tindall stated in a press conference that he was happy just to be alive after his ordeal, but was looking forward to returning to the rugby field for Gloucester in what he hoped would be towards the "business end of the season" (April), however, this seemed quite unlikely bearing in mind his ordeal. In January 2008, Tindall announced a new three-year deal signed to remain at Gloucester Rugby 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.[13] However, in June 2012, he agreed a one-year contract as a player and backs coach at Gloucester.[14] In May 2013, Tindall signed a new contract to remain player-backs coach for another year at Gloucester.[15] On 15 July 2014, Tindall announced his retirement from professional rugby.[16]

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 resides.[17]

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.[18][19]

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.[20]

Tindall was caught on camera flirting with an unknown woman at a bar in Queenstown, New Zealand, during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.[21] A bouncer uploaded security camera footage of the incident to YouTube, and was later charged with accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose.[22]


Tindall was selected for the Barbarians squad on their short tour in May 2012 against England at Twickenham Stadium, Ireland at Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester and Wales at Millennium Stadium.[23]

In May 2013, Tindall captained the Barbarians against England at Twickenham Stadium.[24] Tindall was named a replacement for the Barbarians against the British and Irish Lions as part of their 2013 tour to Australia.[25]

Personal life

On 21 December 2010, it was announced that Tindall was engaged to Zara Phillips, the daughter of the Princess Royal and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips. Phillips is the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The wedding was held on 30 July 2011 at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, with the attendance of all senior members of the Royal Family.

On 8 July 2013, it was announced that they were expecting their first child in early 2014.[26] On 17 January 2014, it was announced that Zara Phillips had given birth to a baby girl.[27] The couple named their daughter Mia Grace Tindall.[28] Mia was christened on 30 November 2014 at St Nicholas's church in the village of Cherington in Gloucestershire.[29]

Tindall has two alleged criminal convictions for drinking and driving.[30][31][32]

Celebrity ambassador

In late 2013, Tindall became a brand ambassador for online trading company UFXMarkets.[33] He appeared in a variety of advertising campaigns and was interviewed for the company's promotional video. In it, he explained that he sees significant overlap between playing rugby and online trading, in the research required to excel and in the adrenaline rush of success.

Tindall has also appeared as the host for a number of charity sporting events, including a golf classic sponsored by the Legion Foundation in May 2013 to raise money for the On Course Foundation and Rugby for Heroes. A year earlier, Tindall became the charity ambassador for The Midlands Air Ambulance, the organization that helped to airlift him off the rugby pitch in 2008 after an injury in a Six Nations match.

In April 2015 Tindall became a brand ambassador for online bookmaker Betway. He was to feature in the firm's advertising and promotional materials as well as some media appearances. He will provide unique content for Betway's blog in the run-up to the World Cup, the autumn internationals, and the 2016 Six Nations.[34]




  1. "Mike Tindall — Official RFU England Profile". Rfu.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  2. "Zara Phillips engagement ring from England rugby star Mike Tindall | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. 21 December 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  3. "Meet Zara Iron Mike unconventional royal couple". The Daily Mail. 25 March 2008.
  4. "Fame & Fortune : Mike Tindall". The Telegraph. 14 January 2010.
  5. Archived 19 November 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. Interview by Rosanna Greenstreet (25 November 2006). "Q & A: Mike Tindall | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  7. "BBC SPORT | RUGBY UNION | Tindall fires salvo at critics". BBC News. 31 December 2000. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  8. "BBC SPORT | Gloucestershire". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  9. Palmer, Bryn (2 February 2006). "BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | Six Nations | Tindall defends Noon partnership". BBC News. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  10. http://www.guinnesspremiership.com/254_9042.php?PHPSESSID=16028. Retrieved 2 December 2006. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. "BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | English | Tindall & Hodgson miss World Cup". BBC News. 13 August 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  12. "Mike Tindall counts blessings after scare". telegraph.co.uk. 14 February 2008.
  13. "Mike Tindall's future in doubt as former England captain is among 11 players shown the door by Gloucester". telegraph.co.uk. 25 April 2012.
  14. "Mike Tindall". Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  15. "Mike Tindall's contract extension at Gloucester". BBC Sport. 9 May 2013.
  16. "Former England centre Mike Tindall announces retirement from professional rugby". The Guardian. 15 July 2014.
  17. "Former England and Gloucester centre Mike Tindall plays for his local club Minchinhampton". BBC Sport. 27 October 2014.
  18. "BBC Sport — Mike Tindall will appeal after being handed £25,000 fine by the RFU". BBC News. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  19. Kitson, Robert (11 November 2011). "Mike Tindall fined £25,000 and thrown out of England squad by RFU". The Guardian.
  20. Rees, Paul (29 November 2011). "Mike Tindall appeal verdict shows RFU has lost all sense of direction". The Guardian.
  21. "England captain's antics overshadow Rugby World Cup". 3 News NZ. 16 September 2011.
  22. "Bouncer charged after releasing Tindall tape". 3 News NZ. 19 September 2011.
  23. "Tindall in Barbarians squad". The Telegraph. 15 May 2012.
  24. "Tindall to captain Barbarians against England". RFU. 23 May 2013.
  25. "Tindall for Barbarians against British and irish Lions". BBC Sport. 29 May 2013.
  26. Rayner, Gordon (8 July 2013). "Zara Phillips is pregnant, Buckingham Palace announces". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  27. "Buckingham Palace: Queen Elizabeth II's Granddaughter Zara Phillips Gives Birth to Baby Girl". ABC News. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  28. |url=https://twitter.com/miketindall13/status/426341543478566912
  29. "Zara and Mike Tindall hold intimate christening for baby Mia attended by the Queen". Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  30. "UK | England | Gloucestershire | Tindall 'drink-drive' allegation". BBC News. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  31. Road Traffic Act 1988 s 5(1)
  32. "UK | England | England rugby star's driving ban". BBC News. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  33. UFXMarkets
  34. http://www.sbcnews.co.uk/marketing/2015/04/09/mike-tindall-joins-betway-ahead-of-2015-rugby-world-cup/
  35. "Michael James Tindall MBE". Retrieved 23 May 2014.
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