Michael James Tindall, MBE born 18 October 1978 is a rugby player who plays Outside centre for Gloucester Rugby and has captained the England team. His fiancée is Zara Phillips, the daughter of HRH The Princess Royal and the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II.
Tindall was born in Otley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, and was educated at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield, while his father Phil captained Otley. He refused braces to straighten his teeth, one of his greatest regrets; and served fish and chips from a van while studying.
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 stepped up to become a regular fixture at both club and country level, making his debut against Ireland at Twickenham in 2000 alongside Mike Catt.
Despite receiving criticism over the years, in particular from Will Carling and ex-Bath fly-half Stuart Barnes, 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 frequently misled people into thinking they played the other way around, though in fact those who watched saw that Tindall all but invariably lined up outside Greenwood. He was dropped for the semi-final in favour of Mike Catt, whose kicking was required in the rainy weather, but reinstated in the final.
Tindall missed the 2005 Six Nations with a foot injury and subsequently failed 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 has two criminal convictions for drunk driving. On 8 January 2009 he was convicted, was banned from driving for three years and fined £500 for drink-driving, with £75 costs. This was the consequence of an incident on the M4 motorway on 15 March 2008, following a day out at Cheltenham Racing Festival with Zara Phillips. This was Tindall's second drunk driving conviction. The earlier conviction, in 2000, resulted in a 16-month disqualification (which was in itself in excess of the obligatory 12-month disqualification for a first offence).
On 21 December 2010 it was announced that he was engaged to Zara Phillips, the daughter of HRH The Princess Anne, Princess Royal, and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips. Phillips is the granddaughter of HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The wedding is set for July 30, 2011.
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 forged 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.Tindall has a strong cult following however, and is often nicknamed "The Fridge" due to his sizeable bulk.
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 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.
In October 2007 Tindall returned to the Gloucester Rugby starting line up after recovering from injury 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 4 tries and collect the try bonus point.
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 done against Newcastle last season when Tindall broke his leg. Despite this injury, Tindall recovered fast and played the following week, and continued his form for Gloucester.
In February 2008 Tindall was named in England Head Coach Brian Ashton's squad for the upcoming 6 Nations tournament, and thus started for England at outside centre against Wales at Twickenham on 2 February 2008. Early in the second half of the game, Tindall dived on the ball in open play, landing on Welsh full-back Lee Byrne's foot which pressed up into his chest. Tindall was stretchered off showing signs of severe pain, but the immediate belief was damage to his ribcage, however 45 minutes later he was rushed to hospital, where it became clear he had punctured his lung, and also torn a 2 inch tear in his liver, in which 2 pints of blood bled before clotting. Tindall spent the following 5 days in intensive care before he was released to return to his home at Gatcombe Park.