Moody excited by World Cup challenge
August 30, 2011
Moody in relaxed mood at England's training base in Surrey ahead of their World Cup departure © Getty Images
England captain Lewis Moody is relishing the chance to make his latest comeback from injury on the Rugby World Cup stage.
Moody's international season has been decimated by injury, the flanker managing just 62 minutes of Test rugby in 2011, but he has shrugged off his medical woes to retain his place in the England squad and more importantly the captaincy of the side.
The 33-year-old travelled to New Zealand still nursing the knock which forced him off against Wales three weeks ago and caused him to miss his country's final two warm-up matches. But he is expected to be fit for England's Pool B opener a week on Saturday and has "absolutely no qualms" about returning in such a high-profile game.
"It has never fazed me coming back because you are conditioned so well so when you come back, it becomes the norm," said Moody, who went into the last World Cup nursing a calf problem which saw him start the tournament on the bench. "You have done it a million and one times in the past."
England handed Moody the perfect pick-me-up by winning their final warm-up game in Ireland on Saturday, a fortnight after losing the second instalment of their double-header with Wales. "Someone asked me last week if I was excited about the World Cup and I genuinely haven't been excited about it yet because there such a frustration from that loss against Wales," Moody said.
"Our focus was so much on Ireland and winning and putting everything into that I woke up this morning and thought, 'happy days'. I am genuinely now excited about getting on the plane and going to the World Cup."
Being in New Zealand has also given Moody an opportunity to meet up with his mother-in-law, who lives there. "It is ideal," said Moody. "If you are at home and you are playing rugby, you would have the family at home.
"It is great to keep that normality, otherwise you become bogged down in rugby and everything - you can overwhelm yourself at times. It is good to be able to step away and have family and girlfriends in and Johnno has always been an advocate of that."
Moody will be joined in New Zealand by wife Annie, with Johnson announcing an open-door policy for wives and girlfriends. There will also be a "sensible" approach to alcohol consumption on what is England's first visit to the country since the infamous tour of 2008.
"You can't say, `you are not allowed to drink anything'," Moody insisted. "We are all adults and the guys are very sensible and utterly professional and we trust each other completely. We spoke as players the other night that we have to look after ourselves and we have to look after each other and that is just being professional and sensible."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9