Dan Cole tells all about Mike Tindall's dwarf-tossing 'stag do' during 2011 Rugby World Cup

Veteran England prop Dan Cole continues to regret his involvement in one of the most infamous World Cups in sporting history.

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Back in 2011, a young Cole was part of the notorious trip dubbed 'Mike Tindall's stag do,' during which Manu Tuilagi leaped into Auckland Harbour and was subsequently arrested and detained by police for an hour.

This controversial New Zealand outing also saw the England team engaging in heavy drinking in Queenstown, where they attended a dwarf-tossing event at a local pub.

Cole said: "As a young person, you learn. The squad learnt what you can and can't do and if you decide to do that type of stuff, you hurt the squad.

“It does not last for you for the day, it lasts for the rest of your career.

"There's a lot of stuff not to do. With World Cups, one of the things I've learnt, particularly with 2011, is you can come along for the ride. You turn up, think it's brilliant to be at a World Cup and get lost in the experience.

"Or you turn up like 2019 and now — and dive into the World Cup in terms of, 'We're here for a purpose'.

"When you're young, like I was in 2011, everything just washes into one, 'Oh, we're in Auckland, oh, we're in Queenstown'.

"You just go along with the flow and it's only afterwards when you look back and think, 'We fed it up'. 

“If I could have my time again, I would do this or this better and that's what you take into the next one.

“You learn a lot from what not to do rather than what you should do. I have, anyway. "We've always been told there's a trust. If you f up, you're out, basically. So no one f***s up. Or tries not to.”

What England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup heroes look like now, some are very different

Sir Clive Woodward’s England lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy for the first – and so far only – time in 2003, after a Jonny Wilkinson drop goal in extra time.

Woodward’s side are still the only northern hemisphere side to win the World Cup, with the other nine tournaments won by South Africa (four), New Zealand (three) and Australia (two). 

In a video posted by England Rugby’s Instagram account, Wilkinson – who scored the all important drop goal 28 seconds from time – said: ‘It’s great being back with all the guys from the squad 20 years on.

‘It’s great to be able to see everyone, and to get a feel of what everyone’s been up to, but also to I guess get a feel for why we were able to do what we did 20 years ago, because it still lives on in everyone.’

Take a look at how some of the key players look now:

Phil Vickery

A former Gloucester and London Wasps prop, Phil Vickery called time on his career at the end of the 2010 Premiership season. The two-time British & Irish Lion was a revered opponent across the world, and has since started a successful clothing brand ‘Raging Bull’, with his on-field nickname. Vickery was forced into retirement due to a series of neck injuries, and in 2012 he joined Worcester Warriors as their Scrum Coach.

Vickery has also tried his hand at sports broadcasting, as he was apart of the commentary team for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. His on-screen appearances have also been witnessed across a variety of TV shows, including ‘Celebrity MasterChef’, which he won in 2011. An eternal fan favourite at Kingsholm Stadium, Vickery was appointed the title of Deputy Lieutenant of Gloucestershire in 2015.

Jonny Wilkinson

Renowned for his iconic drop-goal that secured victory against Australia in the 2003 final, Wilkinson transitioned into a coaching role with Toulon, focusing on kicking and skills development following his retirement. He also now works as a pundit for ITV Sport during Rugby World Cup’s and the Six Nations.

Will Greenwood

Greenwood continued to shine on the international stage following the 2003 glory, and went on to represent the British & Irish Lions for their 2005 tour to New Zealand. He ended his career at Harlequins in 2006, and soon gave his experienced views through analysis and punditry. Greenwood co-hosted the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ TV series with former Wales international Scott Quinnell, and was an on-screen analyst for ITV as England reached the final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Will has also explored opportunities away from rugby, and is the current Chief Customer Officer for data and software company Afiniti’s London office. Greenwood’s family was struck with tragedy, after his son Freddie died just 45 minutes after being born. The former England centre underwent an inspirational walk to the North Pole in memory of his son, and helped to raise over £750,000 for Borne’s research. Greenwood is a patron of Borne, who are a medical research charity that work with cases of premature birth. He is also a patron of Child Bereavement UK, which is a charity that support parents who have lost a child.

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