Moody calls time on career
Lewis Moody lifts the Premiership title during his Tigers days
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Former England skipper Lewis Moody called time on his rugby career after failing to recover from a shoulder injury. The former Tigers flanker was playing for Bath at the time but only managed half a match in his second season at the West Country side. But he brought down the curtain on his career with seven Premiership titles and two Heineken Cups while turning out for the Leicester Tigers. But the standout moment in his career was the 2003 World Cup triumph were he won the key lineout which gave Jonny Wilkinson the opportunity to drop the famous winning score. With 71 caps to his name and two Tests for the British & Irish Lions, Moody retired with a glittering CV. Nicknamed 'Mad dog', Moody drew plaudits for his no-nonsense approach to tackling and putting his body on the line.
Graham Henry's Welsh side began a ten-match winning run with a surprise 34-33 win against France, their first Paris triumph since 1975. The hero of the hour was Neil Jenkins with 19 points, despite missing with five kicks. "This was the biggest rugby occasion I've been involved in," Henry grinned. "To see their faces after the game was just a mint." Jean-Claude Skrela, the France coach, admitted the best side had won. "Our players did not have enough fear of the Welsh," he said. "However much our coaches said to them that Wales were our strongest opponents, I do not think our players truly believed us."
Danny Cipriani was dropped from the England team for their Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland at Murrayfield for what the Rugby Football Union termed "inappropriate behaviour". Cipriani, who was in line to make his first international start, was punished for being pictured in a newspaper leaving a London nightclub after midnight just two days before the game. A friend of Cipriani's told The Sun newspaper, "Danny's gutted. He only popped into the club to give a friend some tickets for the game. He didn't touch a drink all night." Cipriani eventually made his full debut at fly-half the following week against Ireland and produced a man of the match performance to steer his side to a 33-10 victory at Twickenham.
Another great day for Wales as they won the Grand Slam with a 19-13 win over France in Cardiff, but it was a match that left the home fans exhausted as the French, who outscored the Welsh by two tries to one, were camped in the home side's 22 in the dying minutes. It took some heroic defence, epitomised by JPR Williams' last-minute crunching tackle to check French wing Jean-Francois Gourdon within feet of the line, to clinch the victory.
The cracks in England's World Cup-winning side really began to show as they suffered their first loss since beating Australia, and their first at Twickenham since 1999, ending a run off 22 straight victories. The man who did the damage was Ronan O'Gara who kicked Ireland to a 19-13 win. "It was always going to happen," reflected coach Clive Woodward. "But it's not nice. In fact it is pretty painful. I hate losing. I hate sitting here talking about losing. But Ireland deserved to win."
England beat Scotland in the last 20-a-side international at Kennington's Oval. From then on, the 15-a-side rules were the order of the day.
Ireland continued a period of dominance with their fifth straight win over England. Their skipper Tom Grace scored the only try of the match to give his team a 13-12 win at Twickenham after they trailed 9-0 at half time.
Stuart Barnes, promoted ahead of Rob Andrew, brought a touch of razzmatazz to England's back-line, inspiring them to a 26-12 win over Scotland at Twickenham. "The day belonged to the little Napoleon on his perch," Brough Scott wrote of Barnes in the Sunday Times, but one person disagreed - Annie Underwood - "the country's proudest mother" who watched both sons Rory and Tony score tries.
Bob Hiller led Surrey to the County Championship in a 14-3 defeat of Gloucestershire at Kingsholm. Alastair McHarg was in typical form for the visitors, popping up in the loose to kick ahead and win the race for a try under the posts.
A then uncapped Jeff Butterfield showed his promise scoring two dashing tries for the Barbarians in their 9-3 victory in the Mobbs memorial match against the East Midlands.