Moody set to learn World Cup fate
August 8, 2011
Lewis Moody has had a series of well-documented injury problems © Getty Images
England captain Lewis Moody will learn his World Cup fate on Monday after limping off during their 23-19 win over Wales on Saturday.
Moody hopes his injury to be just a "tweak" of his right knee. The Bath flanker missed England's Six Nations title campaign after damaging ligaments in the same knee in January. He took the field against Wales with heavy strapping on his leg. The England medics will assess Moody when he returns to the team's base at Pennyhill Park before any decision is taken as to whether he requires a scan.
Moody's initial fear when 18 stone team-mate Matt Banahan fell on his knee at Twickenham was that he would miss the Rugby World Cup. Those concerns had eased somewhat by the time Moody returned to the changing room but England still have an anxious wait to see if he will be given the all-clear.
"Lewis is usually a quick healer," said England manager Johnson. "It could be one of those where he is back in a week or so and ready to play Ireland."
Even minor ligament damage could leave Moody's place in the World Cup squad in doubt, given Johnson has to name his final 30 on August 22. Johnson has previously identified Moody as the man he wants to lead England into the World Cup and he will be given every opportunity to make the plane to New Zealand.
In a worst-case scenario for Moody, Mike Tindall would be the main contender to take over the captaincy after leading England to their four Six Nations victories last season. "Lewis is a very good leader for us. You have to be able to handle the loss of any one individual," said Johnson.
Moody has played fewer than five full matches since January but Johnson believes the 2003 World Cup-winner has enough experience to be able to jump straight back into Test rugby. "Guys who have played a lot of rugby can go in and play at Test match level a bit easier than guys who haven't," said Johnson.
"In 2003 Lawrence Dallaglio didn't play a game before we went to Australia."
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