Why so shy, Tindall? Rugby star's blushes as he sat for portrait, oiled, topless and posing as Mr June...


By Rebecca English

Stripped: Tindall poses in his pants for the calendar

After all that carry-on with an ex-girlfriend Down Under, you’d have thought Mike Tindall would be keeping a low profile.

Well maybe he took a knock on the head in the Rugby World Cup – because here he is slathered in oil posing like an underwear model.

While his latest antics are for charity, it’s a little unclear where the rugby theme fits in, or how new wife Zara Phillips – 13th in line to the throne – might view it.

Tindall found himself in trouble when he was pictured cavorting with ex Jessica Palmer on a night out in New Zealand – just one of a series of off-field antics which brought shame on the England team at the World Cup.

The sportsman is patron of Rugby For Heroes, a new charity run by players to raise money for ex-servicemen.

Tindall and a group of 11 other players, including fellow England stars Delon Armitage and Tom Croft, agreed to pose for a calendar in various states of undress, with the sometime England captain being nominated as ‘Mr June’.

Mike Tindall poses in his pants as Mr June for the 2012 Rugby for Heroes calender

The photograph of Tindall leaves little to the imagination, although one tends to think that his famously formidable mother-in-law, Princess Anne, might think it rather a hoot.

Perhaps it was the result of some very flattering lighting, but the Gloucester player’s famously wonky nose (which Princess Anne jokingly told him to get fixed before his wedding back in July) looks suspiciously airbrushed.

The charity was set up by Alan Lamb, whose son Ryan plays for Northampton Saints.

He said ‘Tins’ was actually rather shy and reserved about stripping for the calendar but soon got into the spirit of things following some gentle ribbing by his team-mates.

Full English: The rest of the England rugby team show off their impressive physiques for the calendar

‘Some of the players, frankly, didn’t need an awful lot of persuading but some of them were quite shy and reserved, particularly Tins,’ he said.

‘We went to the club and the photographer was a former serviceman, which made it a bit easier to strip off and get oiled up.’

Mr Lamb added: ‘We are a very small charity but have big plans. There are so many former servicemen, particularly those suffering from the unspoken issue of post-traumatic stress syndrome, who need our help.

'This might be in the form of paying for them to go on a re-training course of simply, as we are doing at the moment, creating an maintenance free garden for one injured soldier to sit in and watch the world go by.

‘There are so many similarities between rugby players and the military, particularly the physicality and the discipline, that it seemed a natural link up between the two.’

Left, Tindall as we usually see him and right, the damning image of Tindall with ex Jessica Palmer