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Meehan backs Moody for England role


Lewis Moody

Lewis Moody

Lewis Moody

Bath head coach Steve Meehan claims he will not be surprised if Lewis Moody starts in England's RBS 6 Nations showdown against France at Twickenham next Saturday.

Flanker Moody, England's captain during the season's autumn Tests, missed the opening Six Nations victories over Wales and Italy due to a knee ligament problem. But he proved his fitness through a 23-minute run off the replacements' bench for Bath as they outclassed Aviva Premiership opponents Northampton in claiming a 38-8 victory.

Meehan said: "(England manager) Martin Johnson hinted at it in the week when he said that guys who have been around for 10 years with 70 caps (like Moody) have credits in the bank. If he is fit enough, and as captain, I wouldn't be surprised if he ran out against France."

Moody's thunder at the Recreation Ground though was stolen by his England colleague Matt Banahan, who scored three of Bath's five tries and brilliantly created another for centre Matt Carraro.

Substitute Sam Vesty also crossed, while Olly Barkley added five conversions and a penalty as Northampton, who suffered their biggest defeat of the season, could only post a Greig Tonks consolation try and a Stephen Myler penalty.

On Banahan's blistering display, Meehan added: "He certainly sent a message to the England coaches.

"They should be confident of starting him. Today was a good illustration of what he is about."

A delighted Banahan was quick to offer praise elsewhere though, as Bath made it seven wins from their last eight starts in all competitions.

He said: "I thought some of the forwards were outstanding - they really put the hard yards in.

"Rugby is a game you are always learning about, and it is about giving myself the best opportunity in a game."

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