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Tindall kiss woman 'an old friend'

The woman seen on CCTV kissing and hugging Mike Tindall is an "old friend" of the England rugby captain and his royal bride, sources have insisted.

The images of Tindall in the company of the blond woman were posted online a day after it emerged that the sportsman enjoyed a night of drinking in a New Zealand bar after his team's first World Cup match.

At one point the footage shows the player, who married the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips six weeks ago, wrapping his arm around the woman.

The pair continued to chat close to the exit of Altitude bar in Queenstown before Tindall bowed his head and she grabbed it with both hands, kissing his crown.

But a source stressed there was nothing untoward about the behaviour of the rugby star. "She's an old friend of the couple and she was on holiday in Queenstown," the source said.

Tindall had joined other England squad members on Sunday night at the bar, which was hosting a "Mad Midget Weekender".

The players were given the evening off after Tindall captained England to an unconvincing 13-9 victory over Argentina in their opening game of the tournament in New Zealand.

The CCTV footage has been posted on various websites in New Zealand and is interspersed with pieces-to-camera by the uploader, who described himself as a bouncer.

Zara is expected to fly out to watch her husband play in the World Cup in the coming weeks.

England coach Martin Johnson has defended the right of his players to "let off a bit of steam" during a major tournament. "I had no problem with them doing that. We all know when you have a rugby team that part of it is the bonding off the field," he added.

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