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Lewis Moody admits it will be hard to fill the void

Lewis Moody will not stop throwing himself into harm's way just because he has been forced to retire from rugby with a shoulder injury.

Nicknamed “Mad Dog” for his fearless approach to the game, Moody must begin the tough process of finding something to fill the void now his glittering 16-year rugby career is over.

And it will be extreme. Moody is eyeing up the kind of endurance challenge that comedian John Bishop has just completed for Sport Relief, when he cycled, rowed and ran the 290 miles from Paris to London.

“The reason I played the game was to give everything I could to the team and my mates around me,” Moody said.

“One of the most difficult things will be to replace that sense of doing something for a common goal and being able to give as much as you can of yourself to the team around you.

“I will find something (to fill the void). No doubt I will have to set myself some hideous physical challenge at some point.”

Moody will be remembered for his extraordinary commitment and willingness to hurl himself into the line of fire with scant regard for his own safety.

Inevitably, that approach led to Moody suffering a catalogue of injuries. Over-exposure to anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and painkillers contributed to him being diagnosed with colitis in 2005.

Every time Moody battled his way back to fitness — but the shoulder injury he suffered against Worcester on November 25, his only Premiership appearance of the season, was the final straw.

The 33-year-old retires as a former England captain and British and Irish Lion, having won every honour in the domestic, European and international game.

“As a sportsman you never really prepare yourself for when it will come to an end,” said Moody, who won 71 caps for his country.

“I had a year or so left on my contract at Bath and I was lined up to play for the Barbarians in the summer. It has been very difficult but ultimately my body has told me it was time and one injury too many to come back from.”

Wales will face the fourth leg of their Six Nations Grand Slam challenge against Italy on Saturday without captain Sam Warburton due to a knee injury.

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