Moody back after injury hell

Lewis Moody will end a nine-month injury nightmare tomorrow night, and he admits: "I am absolutely ready to go."

The England flanker is poised to make a long-awaited comeback when Leicester play their final EDF Energy Cup pool game against Welford Road visitors Sale Sharks.

He has not played since limping off during the opening 15 minutes of England's RBS 6 Nations loss to Wales at Twickenham last February.

The 30-year-old World Cup winner subsequently underwent Achilles and hip surgery, but has now received the green light to pack down in Tigers' back-row alongside New Zealand recruit Craig Newby.

Moody said: "As a rugby player, you just want to get out and play.

"I have come through all the rehab, and now I just want to play. I am absolutely ready to go."

Leicester head coach Heyneke Meyer confirmed Moody's appetite for battle after witnessing his trademark approach to training - an all-action style that helped coin him the nickname "Crazy Horse".

Meyer said: "We need to show a lot of character with some of the international players away, but I am confident in the guys we have got. Let's see how they go.

"Lewis has been working well, and he will start.

"He has been training hard, and we have had to tell him a few times to ease off.

"Craig Newby has looked good in training, too. It is a new challenge for him, and it is great to have a guy of his stature and international experience to come into the team."

Leicester, Anglo-Welsh Cup winners in 2007 and runners-up last season, must beat already-eliminated Sale to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals.

But whatever Tigers do, it will be academic if group leaders Cardiff Blues beat Bath at the Arms Park tomorrow night.

Meyer has chosen to rest former England forwards Martin Corry and Julian White, so lock Ben Kay takes over from Corry as captain, while wing Tom Varndell makes a first start since being ditched from England's elite player squad.

Tigers number eight Jordan Crane, who was among eight England squad players released back to their clubs earlier this week, is on the replacements' bench.

Despite Sale being out of semi-final contention, Sharks rugby director Philippe Saint-Andre still parades a sprinkling of internationals, including Dwayne Peel, Jason White and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

Another player on the comeback trail tomorrow is Moody's former England colleague Danny Grewcock.

Bath lock Grewcock also makes his first start of the campaign following injury, and head coach Steve Meehan is targeting a win that could edge his team into semi-final contention.

Blues boss David Young has played down the loss of seven players to three days' Wales squad training this week.

Young was without Leigh Halfpenny, Tom Shanklin, Jamie Roberts, Gethin Jenkins, Martyn Williams, Robin Sowden-Taylor and Andy Powell as Wales stepped up preparations for next week's Millennium Stadium appointment with world champions South Africa.

The former Wales and Lions prop said: "Our preparation for Friday's match has not been ideal.

"But as I have stated before, I am really pleased for the players who are in the Welsh squad, and I am 100% behind them and (head coach) Warren Gatland."

Young fields two of his current Wales contingent in the starting XV - centre Shanklin and flanker Sowden-Taylor - with Williams on replacement duty.

The Blues have beaten Guinness Premiership trio Sale, Gloucester and Leicester this month, and their current form suggests Bath will provide a fourth notable scalp.

Young added: "We can take confidence from our recent performances.

"The coaching team has been pleased with the way the players have fronted-up against big physical opponents, and we have also been clinical in the way we have finished our chances."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference