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Mike puts New Zealand upset behind him as he returns home to Zara

10 OCTOBER 2011

With his marriage to Zara Phillips dominating front pages during England’s Rugby World Cup campaign, Mike Tindall will be looking forward to returning to life away from the spotlight.

On Monday, he and the rest of the squad left New Zealand bound for the UK following their defeat to France in the quarter finals.

And, as the rugby star puts the disappointment of the tournament behind him, at the forefront of his mind will be reuniting with his wife of two months.

 

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Despite the furore surrounding his now infamous night out in Queenstown, Mike and Zara have continued to show a united front in the face of stories about their private lives.

Indeed down-to-earth Zara looked happy and relaxed as she reunited with her husband in New Zealand last month to support him in the World Cup.

And the same was true when she was pictured taking part in a horse riding competition in The Netherlands this week.

The intense media interest in them has no doubt taken a toll on the couple, who enjoy a relatively quiet life together at their country home in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Nevertheless, friends say they will emerge from this upset stronger than before.

“Something like this isn’t going to faze them,” Charles Goode – the 27-year-old designer of Zara’s engagement ring – told the Telegraph this week.

 

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“Zara is super chilled. She will know exactly how to handle this.”

It is not just Mike’s off-field conduct that has grabbed headlines during the World Cup; other England players also found themselves at the centre of newspaper reports.

Manager Martin Johnson confirmed that three members of the squad had been reprimanded after a female member of staff in their Dunedin hotel complained about their behaviour.

And on Sunday, following their World Cup knockout, England star Manu Tuilagi, 20, received a formal police warning and was fined £3,000 by England rugby officials after jumping off a ferry in Auckland.

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