Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Moody Fired Up to End His England Torment

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Moody Fired Up to End His England Torment

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris jones

LEWIS MOODY says he is ready to return as England captain against France on Saturday and end the "soul-destroying" experience of having to sit out the wins over over Wales and Italy.

Knocking over France, the only other unbeaten team in the Six Nations, is the toughest assignment in northern hemisphere rugby and with their coach Marc Lievremont stoking up the anti-English feeling, this is a job for fearless characters.

That is why Moody's return looks certain when Martin Johnson names his side for Twickenham on Thursday with the team manager knowing the flanker is equipped to take the fight to the French and their formidable back row in particular.

After five weeks out with a knee injury, Moody made his comeback on Saturday, playing for 23 minutes of Bath's 38-8 hammering of Northampton.

He said: "It was a little bit stiff after the game but I didn't feel the knee during it, which was good. Fingers crossed, we've got through everything.

"Full credit to the physios, who put up with my whingeing and shouting at them over the last five weeks. They worked like stink. I've said all along I wanted to be back for this French game. We said it was a realistic target, so we've all been proved right at the minute.

"We will see what happens, but it is just nice to be fit. It has been wonderful to see the boys do so well so far in the Six Nations.

"Mike Tindall has done a cracking job as captain and the guys who have come in have stuck their hands up, which bodes well in a World Cup year. But it has also been soul-destroying for me. I am a terrible spectator and I have found it difficult."

Leicester flanker Tom Croft also made a comeback as a replacement in Leicester's 21-12 win over London Wasps but will have to wait longer for his recall as Tom Wood deserves to retain the No6 jersey.

France, who kept up their Grand Slam bid with a 25-22 win over Ireland eight days ago, rested all of their players at the weekend and left it to Lievremont (right) to set the tone for the week.

"Well we don't like them [the English], and it's better to say that than be hypocritical," he said smiling. …

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