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Moody ready for return

Lewis Moody has no fears about being thrown back in at the deep end in England's World Cup opener against Argentina.

Moody's international season has been decimated by injury, the flanker managing just 62 minutes of Test rugby in 2011, but that, and an existing knee problem, did not prevent him being named as England's World Cup captain last week.

"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."

The 33-year-old travelled to New Zealand on Monday 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.

Manager Martin Johnson expects him to be fit for England's Pool B opener a week on Saturday and Moody insisted he had "absolutely no qualms" about making his latest injury comeback in such a massive game.

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."


From Belfast Telegraph