Tindall grilling prompts fed-up Johnson to round on press pack

IRATE England manager Martin Johnson stepped in to swat away questions about Mike Tindall’s private life yesterday when the vice-captain faced the media ahead of tomorrow’s World Cup match with Romania.

Tindall answered one question relating to his much-publicised visit to a Queenstown bar, and the tabloid storm that has subsequently stalked the squad, in his first appearance in front of reporters since.

But Johnson became frustrated when questioning continued on that topic and attempted to draw a line under a matter that threatens to disrupt their hopes of wining the tournament in New Zealand.

“I said to you last week what happened, the guys went out and had a drink. We had that conversation last week,” said Johnson. “We have moved on. We have played a game and we have another one this week. We have put it to bed. We are looking forward to a big game, we are playing Romania.”

Tindall, recalled to the team after being omitted for Sunday’s win over Georgia, was asked if the past week had been difficult.

“Not really, you just get on and train,” he said. “You want to play every game and I was disappointed I didn’t get a run out last weekend but you work hard and hope you get picked by the coach every week. It is as simple as that.”

The Gloucester centre was then asked if he felt any “contrition”, and it was then that Johnson acted to change the subject.

Tindall, who married the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips in July, was pictured talking to another woman at the Altitude Bar as a handful of England players relaxed on their day off following the opening match against Argentina. There is no suggestion of impropriety. Phillips arrived yesterday in New Zealand, as planned.