Bar owner denies Mike Tindall groping claim

Last updated 16:04 15/09/2011
Mike Tindall, Dylan Hartley and Chris Ashton

MAUL IN GOOD FUN: Mike Tindall, Dylan Hartley and Chris Ashton enjoy Queenstown's nightlife.

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A Queenstown bar has had to defend the behaviour of England Rugby World Cup squad members after a report that alleged players were involved in dwarf-throwing and that newly-wed captain Mike Tindall groped a woman.

Tindall, who married Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughter, Zara Phillips, in late July, was seen ''kissing'' and ''groping'' a woman and buried his head in her breasts while at Queenstown's Altitude Bar on Sunday night, tabloid newspaper The Sun reported.

But the bar's manager Rich Deane said there were no scandals by any of the players, from what he saw.

The England team was at Wakatipu High School in Queenstown today for a training session.

A reporter was asked to leave the field after questioning the team about the Sun's lead story.

A spokesperson for the England team later issued a media release.

"Mike and several of the players were enjoying an evening out after he had led the team to a hard-earned victory over Argentina," the spokesperson said.

"Like all the lads he plays for England with a massive amount of passion and he was relaxing after a tough match."

They said they would not provide any further comment.

Deane said reports of a dwarf throwing competition were also untrue, stating "that's just not cool".

"They were great lads, not throwing the midgets, it was all light hearted good humoured fun," he wrote on the bar's Facebook page.

"This is the tabloids taking photos out of context and telling silly stories."

Deane said there was no dwarf-throwing competition but little people with bungy cords around their waists were timed on a bar "racecourse" to see who was the fastest.

Photos posted on the bar's Facebook page showed players, including Tindall, jumping on each other, laughing and in good spirits.

The team headed to the bar after their 13-9 win in the new Otago Stadium against Argentina.

The Sun newspaper said that while the team was watching on, a ''fair-haired beauty flung herself at him, Tindall found himself unable to resist''.

''He was seen kissing and groping the girl, who also rubbed his face into her breasts after downing a string of shots at the bar on Sunday.''

Quoting a source, the newspaper said:  "One particularly beautiful blonde went straight for Mike. But rather than reject her advances, unfortunately he was extremely responsive.

"They were flirting with each other and getting very touchy-feely. Then they went into the doorway, where the girl gestured Mike towards her chest.

"The girl was absolutely stunning and all over him. He clearly thought it was a case of 'What happens on tour, stays on tour'.''

Other players at the bar included Dan Cole, Steve Thompson, Louis Deacon, Ben Foden, Shontayne Hape, Toby Flood, Tom Croft, Lewis Moody and Nick Easter.

Deane couldn't be reached for comment to respond to the rumours about Tindall.

- Fairfax NZ and John Edens/Southland Times

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