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Moody set for return against France

Lewis Moody is on course to reclaim his England place and the captaincy for next Saturday's RBS 6 Nations showdown against France.

Moody made a 23-minute appearance off the bench after five weeks out with knee ligament trouble in Bath's emphatic 38-8 Aviva Premiership victory over Northampton.

The 66 times-capped Bath flanker missed England's opening Six Nations wins against Wales and Italy, but he always maintained the appointment with France was a realistic target. And it is now likely that both Moody and prop Andrew Sheridan, who played 70 minutes for Sale on Saturday to allay any fears about a back problem that sidelined him when England crushed Italy, will both return.

England manager Martin Johnson will also have noted Leicester flanker Tom Croft's second-half comeback in the win against Wasps following three months out with a shoulder injury.

But outside of Moody and Sheridan, changes are not anticipated for a game that if England win it would then leave them needing to beat Scotland and Ireland for a first Six Nations title and Grand Slam since 2003.

"I feel good," said Moody. "It was nice to have a run-out. It was a little bit stiff after the game, but I didn't feel the knee during it, which was good. Fingers crossed, we've got through everything.

"Full credit to the physios, who put up with my whingeing and shouting at them over the last five weeks. They worked like stink.

"I've said all along that I wanted to be back for this French game. We said it was a realistic target, so we've all been proved right at the minute. We will see what happens, but it is just nice to be fit."

Moody will report for England duty at their Surrey training base, and he added: "I am going to be an excitable boy being back in the camp for real.

"It has been wonderful to see the boys do so well so far in the Six Nations. Mike Tindall has done a cracking job as captain and the guys who have come in have stuck their hands up, which bodes well in a World Cup year. But it has also been soul-destroying for me. I am a terrible spectator of the game, and I've found it difficult."


From Belfast Telegraph