Moody set for World Cup opener
September 1, 2011
The saga of Moody's right knee will hopefully come to an end prior to the World Cup © Getty Images
England captain Lewis Moody is backing himself to be fit for their World Cup opener against Argentina on September 10.
Moody is one six England players who travelled to New Zealand with an injury. But England manager Martin Johnson is confident they will all be fit to play a full part in training on Monday.
Moody strained knee ligaments in England's World Cup warm-up win against Wales on August 6. The Bath flanker has played fewer than five matches since first damaging his knee in January - and he is hungry for a return to action.
"The target is still next week and playing against Argentina," said Moody. "Everything at the minute says we are on the right path. Everyone has been very confident and I am happy at how it has gone.
"I just need to get through training and be happy in my own head that my knee is good and the physios need to be happy. The most important thing is that the medics and the physios are happy with me and they are not going to risk me if it is not right and I go in and knacker it again."
Scrum-half Ben Youngs also travelled to New Zealand with concern over his knee after undergoing an operation, which kept him out of England's three warm-up fixtures. Mark Cueto suffered a back spasm in Saturday's 20-9 victory over Ireland and Mike Tindall was replaced before the end with a tight hamstring.
Tom Wood and Nick Easter both missed the Aviva Stadium victory as a precaution after developing calf problems. In addition to that sextet, Simon Shaw arrived in Auckland today after his departure was delayed by a stomach bug.
"Injury-wise they are all progressing well. We expect them all to be fit to train fully at the latest on Monday when we are in Dunedin," said Johnson. "They are always training, but I mean be there, not restricted in whatever they do on Monday. That is the plan at the moment.
"Simon Shaw got here this morning and he looks very well. They are all okay."
England were greeted at Auckland airport by around 300 supporters and their arrival in New Zealand led the national news. The squad spent this afternoon aboard an old America's Cup boat on Auckland harbour.
"It was a great welcome," said Johnson. "People talk about World Cups for a long time and to actually get there and see the excitement was good fun.
"It was a nice way to come in. It is like the countdown has started. The whole world of rugby is here."
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