10 FEBRUARY 2008

England rugby star Mike Tindall is recovering under the watchful eye of royal girlfriend Zara Phillips after being seriously hurt during last weekend's Six Nations match against Wales.

Zara's sporty boyfriend was rushed to hospital after a nasty tackle left him struggling to breath. The move had torn the Gloucester centre's liver, which began to bleed internally.

Already at Twickenham to cheer her boyfriend on, the Queen's granddaughter rushed to be by his side. Over the next few days, she kept a bedside vigil while Mike lay on a drip in intensive care. Zara's brother, Peter, also spent time at the hospital visiting the seriously ill star.

"I didn't realise it but it turns out I had a big tear in my liver," the sportsman told the Mail on Sunday. "It was more than an inch wide and about an inch deep and my condition was compounded by air released between the lungs and ribs from the hole in my lung."

Thankfully, the 29-year-old did not need an operation and made a good recovery. Last Friday, he was able to return to the Gloucestershire home he shares with Princess Anne's daughter on the family's Gatcombe estate.

Mike is now under doctor's orders to rest and recuperate. "Just about the only thing I can do is walk the dogs," he said.

But, he added, he isn't complaining. "I'm just glad to be here to talk about it."

Photo: ©
Zara was at Twickenham to watch Mike in action last weekend and rushed to hospital to be with her long-term boyfriend, maintaining a bedside vigil while he was in intensive care Photo: © Getty Images Click on photo to enlarge
Photo: ©
At first, the Gloucester centre did not realise how badly hurt he was after he received the injury during England's Six Nations match against Wales Photo: © Getty Images
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