Aviva Premiership
Moody set to miss All Blacks clash
ESPNscrum Staff
October 6, 2010
Bath's Lewis Moody receives some treatment, Bath v Gloucester, Aviva Premiership, The Rec, Bath, England, October 1, 2010
Moody receives treatment during his side's recent Premiership defeat to Gloucester © Getty Images

England captain Lewis Moody is set to miss the opening autumn international against New Zealand with an eye injury that is expected to sideline him for four weeks.

The 32-year-old flanker suffered the injury during last Friday's 18-3 Aviva Premiership defeat to Gloucester and it was initially feared he would require surgery that would rule him out of Bath's opening Heineken Cup matches and possibly all of England's fixtures next month that also include clashes with Australia, Samoa and South Africa.

"Bath Rugby can confirm that Lewis Moody has suffered some bruising to his eye, and is expected to be out of action for up to four weeks," revealed a club statement following the results of a scan on Moody's injury.

The news is a blow to Bath head coach Steve Meehan on the eve of his side's first European encounter against Biarritz on Sunday. "Lewis took a serious knock at the weekend, which is obviously very tough on him," he said. "He was just getting used to the Bath style of play, and it's equally frustrating for the rest of us to lose him at this stage in the season.

"We will of course make sure he receives the best possible attention to get him back on the field as and when he's ready. The only good news is it gives an opportunity for someone else to step up and fill the hole."

Moody had earlier hinted that he would make a sooner-than-expected return to action. "Thanks for all well wishes everyone," the former Tigers stalwart wrote on micro-blogging website Twitter. "Much better news than first thought. Keep eyes peeled for press release today. Back in action soon - phew!"

Moody captained England in their final match of last season's Six Nations Championship against France in Paris, and also on the two-Test summer tour of Australia, which included a 21-20 victory over the Wallabies in Sydney.

He is expected to continue as leader for the demanding autumn campaign of four Twickenham internationals. After New Zealand, England face Australia, Samoa and world champions South Africa. But if Moody was sidelined for the All Blacks clash, then manager Johnson would not be short of captaincy candidates, with centre Mike Tindall, fly-half Jonny Wilkinson and number eight Nick Easter among those expected to be in the mix.

Former captain Steve Borthwick was dropped from the Elite Squad into the England Saxons in the summer.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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