Moody out of France game with knee injury

First he was back in, then he was back out again. Lewis Moody, gung-ho flanker and England captain in absentia, had high hopes of reclaiming his place in the red-rose back row in this weekend's eagerly-awaited Six Nations game with France at Twickenham, despite playing fast and loose with his troublesome right knee by returning to action at least a week ahead of schedule. But yesterday's news from the camp was grim: Moody suffered a reaction after training and is now fighting to regain full fitness in time for the Calcutta Cup meeting with Scotland on 13 March.

There was no confirmation of all this from the Trappists in the England management, but there again, there were no denials either. The silence was partly explained by Martin Johnson's new-found enthusiasm for late team announcements – the manager rather likes the idea of keeping opponents in the dark for as long as possible – and, perhaps, by a touch of embarrassment over the whole Moody saga. The France date was always tight, given the nature of the ligament damage suffered in mid-January, yet Moody was recalled to the Six Nations squad on the back of 23 minutes of Premiership activity last weekend, throughout which his knee was heavily strapped.

Johnson will not lose too much sleep over keeping together the current back row of Tom Wood, James Haskell and Nick Easter, all of whom caught the eye at one time or another over the opening two rounds of the championship. But he prizes Moody's leadership skills, not to mention the energy he brings to the England mix. It now seems likely that the only change to the starting line-up that swamped Italy 12 days ago will be at loose-head prop, where the Lions Test front-rower Andrew Sheridan is back in commission after a brief injury lay-off.

There was rather more chopping and changing in Celtic regions, where both the Scots and the Irish remodelled their teams ahead of their meeting at Murrayfield on Sunday. Andy Robinson, the Scotland coach, had little choice in the matter: fitness issues over two full-backs, Hugo Southwell and Rory Lamont, plus the new centre Joe Ansbro guaranteed a new look to the back division, but there have also been changes at half-back, as well as in all three rows of the pack.

Chris Paterson, the most decorated player in Scottish rugby history, returns as the last line of defence, while Sean Lamont comes into midfield alongside the repositioned Nick de Luca. A new half-back partnership will be introduced – the 23-year-old stand-off Ruaridh Jackson will make his first start alongside the vastly more experienced Mike Blair, who toured South Africa with the Lions in 2009. Up front, the prop Moray Low replaces Euan Murray, whose religious convictions prevent him playing on a Sunday, while Richie Gray returns to the second row. In the back row, the so-called "killer Bs" are reunited. Kelly Brown, John Barclay and Johnnie Beattie were as hot as hell a year ago. Can they generate the same kind of temperature now Beattie is fit again?

"We've had an honesty session," said Robinson, still spitting tacks at the limp nature of his side's home defeat by Wales last time out. "It's important to me that we express how we feel. If anyone has an issue, it needs to be voiced. We've been punished for the errors we've made, but we perform under pressure and we have to keep going for it. We know Ireland are a huge threat – our beating them in Dublin last year will give them added drive. But this is about the here, the now and our performance."

For their part, Ireland have turned to two Test Lions of their own – the wing Tommy Bowe and the stand-off Ronan O'Gara – as they seek another of their regular Murrayfield triumphs. There is also a change at half-back, where Eoin Reddan replaces the stricken Tomas O'Leary.

On the club front, Wasps announced the signings of two outside-halves: Nicky Robinson from Gloucester and Ryan Davis of Exeter. They will begin two-year stints at Adams Park in the summer, filling the gap left by David Walder, who plans to play overseas after five years with the Londoners.

News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Dennis Rodman has confirmed he is not going to the Middle East to 'talk to with the leaders of Isis' as claimed in a recent satirical report
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam