Moody ruled out of Pumas clash
September 5, 2011
England captain Lewis Moody has lost his battle to be fit for his side's World Cup opener against Argentina © Getty Images
England captain Lewis Moody will not play in the World Cup opener against Argentina after failing to recover from a knee injury in time for Saturday's match in Dunedin.
The 33-year-old Moody suffered a recurrence of the ligament injury in England's first World Cup warm-up game, against Wales at Twickenham on August 6. Moody had injured the knee in January playing for Bath and missed all of the Six Nations, meaning he has played just 62 minutes of Test rugby this year.
"Lewis won't play at the weekend," said Johnson. "He is not quite ready to go today. We hoped he would be fit to start training but he is not quite there. The medics and the fitness guys take him through a progression of training and we hoped it would all be ready to go today but he is just a little bit short."
Mike Tindall captained England in Moody's absence through the Six Nations and in their last two warm-up games, against Wales away and Ireland at the Aviva Stadium. James Haskell enjoyed an impressive Six Nations at openside and he is the obvious choice to start in the number seven jersey against Argentina.
"We are very happy with the other guys so it is a very simple decision to hold him back another week," said Johnson. "It is the opening game of what hopefully is a long tournament so you can force these things sometimes and that can go either way."
Johnson remains confident Moody will still play a significant role in the tournament. "He has been running around today so he is not a million miles away," Johnson added. "It is just one of those calls, 'are you ready to participate fully this week and play a Test match this Saturday?' Not quite."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker