Lewis Moody fit and firing for New Zealand clash

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The Independent Online

Lewis Moody insists he will be ready to tackle New Zealand on Saturday after coming through Bath's 6-6 draw with Harlequins relatively unscathed.

Moody had been released from England's training camp to make his return to action at The Stoop after a month sidelined by a serious eye injury.



The 32-year-old bruised the retina of his left eye in a collision with Gloucester full-back Charlie Sharples and his vision is still not perfect, with permanent damage a real possibility.



But Moody was in the thick of the action from the outset and relieved that memories of the injury did not hold him back.



The incumbent England captain required stitches to a head wound early in the first half - but that will not stop him from taking on the All Blacks at Twickenham in five days' time.



England manager Martin Johnson will name his team tomorrow and Moody is in line to be retained as skipper.



"I was a bit nervous going into the game that I would not pick the ball up as quickly but it was fine. Even in the dwindling light conditions it did not affect me," said Moody.



"There was a very similar situation where the guy was lining up the kick and I didn't hold back in going to charge him down. That was a good mental thing."



London Irish returned to the top of the Aviva Premiership with a 39-26 victory over Sale Sharks - but the Exiles had to wait until deep into injury time to secure the bonus point they needed to leapfrog Northampton.



Irish led 26-6 with tries from Ryan Lamb, Jonathan Joseph and George Stowers before a series of substitutions allowed Sale to hit back.



England Under-18 wing Joseph scored the crucial try with an interception in a frantic climax.



"We're in the entertainment business!" said Exiles' boss Toby Booth.



"I'm delighted - five points at home is just what the doctor ordered."



Leeds remain rooted to the bottom of the Premiership after falling to a 17-8 defeat to Wasps, who bounced back well after last weekend's 37-10 thrashing by Northampton.



Wasps were carried to victory with tries from scrum-half Joe Simpson and flanker Tom Rees, while Luther Burrell crossed for Leeds.



"Wasps don't lose games like that last week and emotionally it took a lot out of us," said Wasps boss Tony Hanks.



"The guys have taken a bit of a battering but they are their own biggest critics.



"They've looked at themselves in the mirror and thought 'we need to be better than that as a team'."



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