Monday 22 January 2018

Moody on mission to heal fast

Alex Lowe

Lewis Moody tried to play down fears over the knee injury he suffered during England's 23-19 World Cup warm-up victory over Wales.

The England captain was making his international return after missing the Six Nations with ligament damage in the same right knee he injured yesterday.

Moody, who already had the knee heavily strapped, limped off the field after 61 minutes with the help of two medics and he was still hobbling after the match.

England manager Martin Johnson will finalise his 30-man World Cup squad on August 22, with the first match against Argentina in Dunedin on September 10.

"It was just a tweak to the knee," said Moody. "I am walking fine. It is nicely strapped up. We will see how it is in a couple of days."

Wales full-back Morgan Stoddart suffered a suspected broken leg. The injury occurred when he was tackled by Matt Banahan, having just intercepted a pass from the England wing.

"You have got to feel for him (Stoddart)," said Warren Gatland. "We have been joking in the past, calling him 'Glass' and 'Crystal' because he does pick up a few injuries but to get an injury like that... you hope he recovers as quickly as possible."

Gatland confirmed that Stephen Jones, who had been due to become his country's most capped player by making a 101st Test appearance until he was withdrawn following the warm-up, had suffered a calf muscle injury. "He had a tight calf before the game and we didn't want to take any chances," Gatland said.

England opened a 20-7 lead with tries from James Haskell and debutant Manu Tuilagi but took their foot off the gas when Johnson wanted them to press home the advantage.

Wales finished strongly with tries from Shane Williams and a second from George North, who added to his first-half score.

"It is what we wanted -- to get out there and play a Test match," said Johnson. "You get far more out of that than from the 60-pointers that occasionally happen. At 20-7 we needed to control the ball but we started to turn the ball over, then we invited them right back onto us. They nearly took that opportunity."

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