Saturday 16 December 2017

Bath deal offers Moody fresh start

England flanker Lewis Moody will leave Leicester in the summer after signing a three-year deal with Guinness Premiership rivals Bath.

Moody, currently in his 14th season at Leicester, had been linked with clubs in the French Top 14. But the 31-year-old was persuaded to move to Bath after holding talks with head coach Steve Meehan and chief executive Nick Blofeld.

"I am really looking forward to an exciting new challenge at this stage of my career," said Moody.

"I have always known that if I was ever going to leave Leicester, the only club I would consider in the UK would be Bath."

Lote Tuqiri will bid farewell to the Welford Road crowd in today's Guinness Premiership clash with London Irish, and he is determined to leave Leicester on a high.

The former Australia winger returns home to Sydney after the game to take up a contract with rugby league side Wests Tigers.

Meanwhile, England remain unmoved in their stance that James Haskell will not be returning to play for Stade Francais this weekend, despite strong threats being made by the Top 14 club.

But the club-versus-country saga took an ironic twist when it emerged that Haskell sat out training yesterday after becoming the latest member of the England squad to be hit by a stomach bug.

England manager Martin Johnson refuted suggestions of a conveniently timed illness.

Whether Haskell is fit to play for Stade Francais against Toulouse today or not, the row is developing into a point of principle for the club's owner Max Guazzini. IRB regulations give clubs first call on players in a non-international week and there is nothing in Haskell's Stade contract to override that.

"The RFU is keeping him prisoner. Frankly, I find their attitude lacks respect," he said.

Irish Independent

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