Moody's St George's Day return lifts English spirits

Wasps 10 Bath 43
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The Independent Online

Lewis Moody laid to rest yesterday any fears regarding his participation in England's World Cup preparations. The England captain, who left the field just after half-time during Saturday's Aviva Premiership game at Twickenham, expects to play for Bath in one, if not both, of their remaining games in the next fortnight (both against Newcastle).

Moody, plagued by knee ligament damage which kept him out of the Six Nations Championship, was making his first start since January but went into the game against London Wasps with a grumbling gluteus muscle. "It tightened up over Thursday and Friday but that's just a muscle strain, the knee is 100 per cent," the flanker said.

"I didn't have a twinge from the game and the England medics are happy." Given Moody's chequered injury history, that will be music to the ears of Martin Johnson, the England manager.

Music of any kind has been significantly absent from Wasps's season. If they can climb no higher than their current position of eighth in the table, it will be their worst Premiership finish. They hope to name the replacement for Tony Hanks as director of rugby next month and they have now lost both of the St George's Day games.

In addition, the disciplinary issues surrounding Andy Powell have yet to be resolved, but it is suggested the Wales back-row forward will not still be at the club next season, after his involvement in a pub brawl last week.

Bath demolished them, Tom Biggs scoring three of six tries and helping to ensure Heineken Cup rugby at the Recreation Ground next season.

This was the second of three St George's Day games at Twickenham to which Wasps are committed in the hope of growing both the popularity of the game and their own brand. "I feel sorry for a lot of the fans who have come over the two years and people new to rugby who came today," Leon Holden, the acting director of rugby, said. "The whole point of the exercise is to see us play well."

London Wasps: Try: Simpson. Conversion: Simpson. Penalty: Walder. Bath: Tries: Biggs 3, Banahan 2, Carraro. Conversions: Vesty 5. Penalty: Vesty.

London Wasps: E Daly; R Haughton, B Jacobs, R Flutey, T Varndell (J Lewsey, 58); D Walder (M van Gisbergen, 58), J Simpson (N Berry, 68); Z Taulafo (C Beech, 65), T Lindsay (J Ward, 58), B Broster, S Shaw, J Launchbury, J Hart (capt), D Ward-Smith, B Vunipola (S Betsen, 65).

Bath: N Abendanon; J Boussuge, M Carraro, M Banahan, T Biggs (N Scott, 75); S Vesty (P Roberts, 75), M Claassens (capt, M McMillan, 68); D Flatman (N Catt, 60), L Mears (P Dixon, 60), D Wilson (D Bell, 60), I Fernandez Lobbe, D Grewcock, B Skirving, L Moody (G Mercer, 49), S Taylor (J Ovens, 68).

Referee: W Barnes (London).