September 23, 2020

Moody ready for World Cup opener

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Lewis Moody

Lewis Moody says he is “on the right path” to proving his fitness for England’s Rugby World Cup opener against Argentina on 10 September.

Captain Moody, hoping to add to his 67 caps, has had his international season severely hampered by injury.

The 33-year-old flanker has only played 62 minutes of Test rugby in 2011.

But Moody said: “Everyone has been very confident and I am happy at how it has gone. The target is still next week and playing against Argentina.”

He added: “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.”

Moody is one of six England players who travelled to New Zealand with an injury.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs has some concerns over his knee after undergoing an operation, which kept him out of England’s three warm- up fixtures.

Tom Wood and Nick Easter both missed the Aviva Stadium win as a precaution after developing calf problems.

But despite those niggles, manager Martin Johnson says he expects to have a fully-fit squad going into the World Cup opener, and has also been boosted by the arrival of Simon Shaw who has arrived in Auckland 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.

“Simon Shaw got here this morning and he looks very well. They are all OK.

“We’re pretty confident everyone will be fit to train.”

Meanwhile Scotland coach Andy Robinson is aiming to prove a point to England, the team he helped guide to the Rugby World Cup title in 2003.

Andy Robinson

Formerly the forwards coach under Clive Woodward when England won the World Cup eight years ago, Robinson then took over the head role but was a victim of the hangover that followed as RFU officials failed to lay the groundwork to ensure the team stayed No. 1 in the world.

It’s been nearly five years since Robinson quit with a record of just nine victories in 22 tests as England coach amid a vociferous and growing disapproval from critics and fans. But he has the perfect chance to remind them of his abilities when the teams clash on 1 Oct. at Eden Park
in Auckland.

The Scots have been knocked out by New Zealand in half of the previous six World Cups, and a win against England would go a long way toward avoiding the likelihood of meeting the All Blacks in the quarterfinals — while also possibly condemning England to that very fate.

The World Cup in New Zealand kicks off next Friday when the hosts play Tonga in Auckland. The final will be held on 23rd October.

 

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