England v Wales, Twickenham, August 6
Moody set to return to England helm
August 2, 2011
Moody is set to lead England into their Rugby World Cup warm-up clash with Wales on Saturday © Getty Images
Lewis Moody looks set to resume the England captaincy for Saturday's sold out Rugby World Cup warm-up clash with Wales at Twickenham.
The Bath flanker missed the whole of England's Six Nations title-winning campaign with a knee ligament injury, handing over the captaincy reins first to Mike Tindall and then Nick Easter. But the 33-year-old, England manager Martin Johnson's choice to lead the side at the World Cup, is fit again and ready to return to action this weekend.
Johnson will officially confirm the team to face Wales on Thursday lunchtime but Moody is expected to feature in a side that could also include Matt Stevens and the uncapped trio of Manu Tuilagi, Charlie Sharples and Mouritz Botha.
"To be out there and to get to play at Twickenham this weekend will be fantastic," Moody told Sky Sports News. "It's the exciting part, you get a chance to play and go out on the pitch and do what you're paid to do."
Tindall, who led England to four victories in the Six Nations before injury cost him a place in the final-round defeat to Ireland, welcomed Moody's return to the helm. "Moodos has always been named as that captain," said Tindall. "I was very honoured and privileged to be named when he was unavailable - but he is still viewed in my eyes and everyone's as the skipper. "I know when he's fit and well he'll be named to lead the team."
Tindall insisted he is ready for an immediate return to action this weekend despite only celebrating his wedding to Zara Phillips on Saturday. "The weekend was good, it was everything I thought it would be but I always knew I'd be coming back in after," said Tindall. "It's not weird at all. It had always been planned. Zara is riding this week (in the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park) so it was always going to be like this.
"Everyone wants to be involved. You do all the training for the last six weeks to get a chance to get a start. Everyone wants that, me more than ever. No-one wants to be cut and everyone want to make sure they stay in the 30 (that make the final World Cup squad)."
Tindall, who missed the 2007 World Cup after breaking his leg, insists he is just as excited heading into this year's tournament as he was in the build-up to England's 2003 triumph. "I love getting ready for tournaments like this. It's why you play rugby. Everyone's there with a chance to win a trophy," said Tindall.
"You never know what's going to happen. There will be upsets and we want to play an attacking style of rugby and compete down under as well. This is our opportunity to go and do it on their (New Zealand) patch as well which adds that extra motivational dimension as well. We need to make sure our attacking game is firing. That's the main goal for me so we know when we get down there we are ready to play from anywhere."
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