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

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before