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England World Cup fallout
Moody defends role in World Cup
ESPNscrum Staff
November 23, 2011

Lewis Moody has hit back at reports that he put commercial gain before his rugby but admitted he made mistakes as England captain during the World Cup.

Moody has reportedly been criticised by England's elite rugby director Rob Andrew for leading a senior player delegation that disputed the squad's World Cup payments. The 33-year-old Bath flanker is also criticised by one unnamed team-mate for having too much contact with his agent during the tournament and setting the wrong example. The criticisms of Moody were contained in two of the three reports into England's disastrous World Cup campaign that have been leaked to The Times.

Moody said in a statement: "I put my body on the line for the lads, the team and England every time I played and anyone who has watched me play knows that I give everything on the field and have always prioritised rugby ahead of everything else, including financial reward."

Moody continued: "Captaining England was, and remains, the ultimate honour for me and I accepted that honour knowing all the scrutiny that came with it. I am confident I did the job to the absolute best of my ability but if some of the players thought that was not enough I will have to learn to live with that.

"I have always been my own fiercest critic and have already been honest that there were some things I wish I had done differently at the World Cup, but I have learnt from the experience and hope others can do the same. I have only ever undertaken personal commercial activities in my own time and I'm comfortable I got that balance right at all times.

"Where I had to be involved in commercial conversations with the RFU it was as captain, working with the RPA, representing the best interests of the players, not for any personal gain. I do not think anyone who knows me would think differently."

Moody was also angry the players' confidentiality was betrayed by the leak which he believes was done for "political purposes". But he warned all parties - the RFU, the players' union and the clubs - not to allow this to distract them from the main purpose of the reports, which is to improve the England team.

"Once again it is deeply disappointing to see players' feedback aimed at improving England rugby, and which we were promised would remain confidential and anonymous, being put in the public domain for political purposes," Moody said. "The next few months will be vital for the English rugby and I hope the opportunity is seized to use player feedback for positive change not negative recriminations and political games.

"I have retired from England and am now focused on Bath Rugby and playing my rugby in the same way I always have with passion and commitment. It is time we looked forward not back."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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