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Moody relishing England return

Lewis Moody is ready to lead England into battle against New Zealand next Saturday after coming through Bath's 6-6 draw with Harlequins relatively unscathed.

The England captain required stitches to a head wound early in the first half - but that will not stop him from taking on the All Blacks at Twickenham in six days' time. Moody had been released from England's training camp to make his return to action at The Stoop after a month sidelined by a serious eye injury.

"Whether they win, lose or draw their previous game, that's irrelevant with the All Blacks. They are a quality side," said Moody, referring to New Zealand's defeat against Australia on Saturday. "We know they'll be fired up to play at Twickenham and the boys have trained hard for the last week, so we're looking forward to it."

The 32-year-old bruised the retina of his left eye in a collision with Gloucester full-back Charlie Sharples and his vision is still not perfect. It may never be.

But Moody was in the thick of the action from the outset and was relieved that memories of the injury did not hold him back.

"I was a bit nervous going into the game that I would not pick the ball up as quickly but it was fine. Even in the dwindling light conditions it did not affect me.

"There was a very similar situation where the guy was lining up the kick and I didn't hold back in going to charge him down. That was a good mental thing. The eye's all right - it was a case of getting my eye in, so to speak!"

Quins director of rugby Conor O'Shea said: "I thought both teams tried to play a lot of rugby. The fact there were no tries does not make it a shocking spectacle.

"I thought on the balance of play we deserved to win."

O'Shea confirmed prop Joe Marler had to be withdrawn from the squad after returning from England training with an infection that required hospital treatment.


From Belfast Telegraph