Rugby World Cup 2011: ‘Moody still key for England’

England boss Martin Johnson says injured captain Lewis Moody is still a vital part of his World Cup squad

martin johnson
Johnson admitted medical staff thought Moody would be fit for the opener PA Photos

martin johnson

England manager Martin Johnson insists Lewis Moody will still play an important part in the Rugby World Cup, despite the captain being ruled out of the opener against Argentina.

The 33-year-old Bath flanker – whose knee ligament injury suffered during England’s victory over Wales on 6 August has taken longer to heal than first anticipated – has returned to light training but medical staff have advised Johnson not to risk him on Saturday.

Moody now faces a race to prove his fitness in time to feature against Georgia in England’s second Pool B game, which is a week on Sunday.

“It is the opening game of what hopefully is a long tournament so you can force these things sometimes and that can go either way,” said Johnson.

“He has been running around today so he is not a million miles away. We hope he should be fit [to play Georgia].

“We thought he would be fit for this one. The medics had hoped he’d be ready to go but he’s not quite there. We are in a World Cup and it adds to the emotion of the whole thing.

“At their clubs they might be given until later in the week often, but we want to have a good full week of training this week with everyone ready to go.”

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