Rugby union has lost Lewis Moody as a player but the game will be glad to learn that it may not have lost the man they call "Mad Dog" altogether. As he sets out on a life which for the first time since he was five years old will not involve putting his head where many devils would fear to tread, the former England captain revealed he is set to try his hand at coaching.
A shoulder injury forced the 33-year-old to announce his retirement yesterday. Having bid farewell to international rugby last October, the open-side flanker lasted just four more months with Bath. Moody, a lifelong Leicester fan who enjoyed success at Welford Road before leaving for the West Country in 2010, had hoped to add to his World Cup winner's medal, two Heineken Cups and seven Premiership titles.
He said yesterday: "It was not to be. I do feel a bit of a failure as my body finally won. I know that's not the case, but I would love to help Bath in another capacity.
"I'd start from low down and work my way up to see whether I enjoyed it and have what it takes to be a good coach."
Moody won 71 caps for England and five caps for the Lions in a 16-year career. He captained his country on 11 occasions, most recently in the World Cup in New Zealand.
Sir Ian McGeechan, the Bath director of rugby, said: "Lewis was everything any coach would want from a back-row forward," while Damian Hopley, the chief executive of the Rugby Players Association, added: "Lewis has been one of the great servants of rugby in England over a magnificent career in which he lifted every major trophy in domestic, European and international rugby."
Yet the best line came from his former England team-mate and coach, Martin Johnson: "Whenever I think about Lewis it always brings a smile to my face," said Johnson. "He had a complete disregard for his physical well-being."
Yet eventually, Moody, with a wife and two young children, was obliged to show some regard. "I've had this shoulder problem since last November and thought I'd get over it as I always have with injuries," Moody said. "I took all the advice and on the weekend sat down with Annie [his wife] and came to an unavoidable decision that my body was saying enough is enough."