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Moody recalls Calcutta Cup passion


Lewis Moody, pictured, expects a tough clash between England and Scotland at Murrayfield

Lewis Moody, pictured, expects a tough clash between England and Scotland at Murrayfield

Lewis Moody, pictured, expects a tough clash between England and Scotland at Murrayfield

Lewis Moody had the depth of animosity Scots feel towards the English rammed home following what he thought was an act of kindness.

It came in 2006, in Edinburgh, on the eve of the annual Calcutta Cup clash between international rugby's oldest foes.

Moody had gone out to see a film, as a traditional part of his pre-match routine, and had roped wing Ben Cohen along too.

On their way to the cinema, the pair spotted an old man with a walking stick, having trouble crossing the road.

"We had our English tracksuits on but we helped him across the road because he had a stick," said Moody.

"But when we got to the other side he waved his stick at us and said 'I hope you get battered tomorrow'.

"It was an eye-opener in terms of the level of passion they have for the fixture. That is why it is such a tough place to go for an Englishman.

"They get fired up by Bannockburn and all that history between the two nations. It is what makes the Calcutta Cup so special."

England went on to lose that particular encounter, just as they were beaten two years later and only drew two seasons after that.

It means the narrow triumph in 2012 is England's only away victory in the fixture for a decade, a period in which Scotland have finished higher than second bottom of the table only twice.

"Murrayfield isn't that intimidating - unless you are an Englishman playing against Scotland," said Moody.

"That is just the way it is. The Scottish love that fixture.

"Scotland only have two professional sides, so it is amazing they even compete.

"But I always know, when England play Scotland it will be one of the toughest games of the season."

Coach Stuart Lancaster kept faith with the side that lost in France last weekend, which Moody believes is the right call.

For, having won the majority of his 71 caps after that famous 2003 World Cup win in Australia - when he won the line-out that set up Jonny Wilkinson's momentous drop goal - Moody realises the idea of four-year plans is somewhat self defeating.

And the 35-year-old feels Lancaster has the longer term vision required to get England back to the status that slipped away so disappointingly quickly.

"Stuart has had reasonable success with two second placed finishes," said Moody.

"But what is success? It is achieving silverware really. That is what Stuart is aiming for.

"Some of those young lads had a rather harsh welcome onto the international stage last weekend.

"But they were picked for a reason, they have ability and they should stay.

"I am very confident in Stuart. Whether it will be immediate I don't know. Maybe even the 2015 World Cup will be too early.

"But it is about having a long-term plan, not the four-year plan we had leading up to 2003, which came to an end when we won it."

Moody was speaking alongside Darren Fletcher at Manchester United's Aon Training Centre at the launch of 'United for Colitis'.

The brainchild of Alex McLeish's son Jon, United for Colitis is a new fundraising initiative in aid of parent charity - Crohn's and Colitis UK.

The first United for Colitis event will be a Charity Dinner held at Old Trafford on March 27, which will be supported by Sir Alex Ferguson and many of Fletcher's first-team colleagues.