English Rugby
Former England stars rally round Tindall
ESPNscrum Staff
November 12, 2011
England's Mike Tindall finds himself at the centre of attention, Auckland, New Zealand, September 29, 2011
Mike Tindall found himself at the centre of a media storm during the World Cup © Getty Images

Former England stars Martin Bayfield, Austin Healey, Will Carling and Matt Dawson have sympathised with Mike Tindall following his £25,000 fine and axing from the national side.

Gloucester centre Tindall has been punished following events at a bar in Queenstown, New Zealand during England's recent World Cup campaign. Tindall, 33, was captured on CCTV footage from the Altitude Bar in conversation with a woman.

He later later issued an apology for misleading the England management over his movements that night, having initially wrongly claimed he did not go on to another bar. And he has now been removed from England's elite player squad and fined by the Rugby Football Union following an investigation led by prominent RFU figure Rob Andrew.

Tindall's financial punishment, though, has been described as "extraordinary" by the Rugby Players' Association, who announced he would appeal the fine. "The Rugby Players' Association has noted the extraordinary fine handed down to Mike Tindall following the disciplinary process after the Rugby World Cup," said the RPA, in a statement. "Mike will be appealing this unprecedented fine as per the terms of the EPS (elite player squad) agreement. There will be no further comment from Mike Tindall or the RPA at this time."

Tindall had until early next week to lodge any appeal with acting RFU chief executive Martyn Thomas. Ex-England lock Bayfield said on Twitter: "Mike Tindall's punishment is laughable; too severe & far too late. Horse hasn't just bolted, it's died of old age." And former England back Healey Tweeted: "25k fine is wrong. Tindall has been made a scapegoat.. he set bad example but ...Andrew trying to justify his position."

In his column for The Sun former England captain Carling - who has also felt the wrath of the RFU in the past - wrote: "What I cannot understand is why Tindall has been singled out as the scapegoat.

"It is an incredibly harsh punishment and I'm just hugely confused by the whole thing. If he has been fined for drinking, why have the other guys not been fined? To my mind it's a very unclear message and nobody has explained exactly what this huge fine was for.

"It's just a lot of noise and a lot more confusion and to what end? Witch-hunts serve no purpose and only leave a bad taste in the mouth and that's not good for English rugby."

And World Cup winner Dawson said in his column for the Daily Mail: "I understand something had to be done but I don't get it. The RFU have gone from one end of the scale to the other. Unless the full facts about the incident have not been revealed, it seems very harsh.

"Mike has gained 75 caps for England in a brilliant career. He's not only gained a World Cup medal but when the team was struggling he's been one of the men holding the team together.

"I know it was not a good World Cup, but over the previous 18 months things had gone pretty well and Mike has enjoyed a revival in his own form. If they wanted to show they were in control they should have sent him home there and then."

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