Serious injuries rule Moody and Phillips out of summer tours

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The Independent Online

Two high-profile players were yesterday ruled out for long periods by injury. The England and Leicester forward Lewis Moody said he was "devastated" to miss the rest of the season with an Achilles injury; the Ospreys and Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips will miss the next six months with a knee injury.

A ruptured right Achilles tendon forced Moody off the field during England's Six Nations defeat against Wales at Twickenham on 2 February and he has not played since. Yesterday the open-side flanker was in Umea in Sweden, where a tendon specialist revealed the full extent of the damage.

"The specialist told me I'm going to be out for 16 weeks, which means I won't play for the rest of the season," Moody said. "I'm absolutely devastated. I've had my Achilles scraped, which is basically where all the loose scar tissue is cleared out. I've got a 50 per cent rupture of the tendon.

"I'm really, really dis-appointed, not so much because I'll miss England's tour to New Zealand this summer but because the Tigers are in the EDF Energy Cup final and I can't imagine them not also being in the [Guinness Premiership] final too. Every game you miss is a game you can never get back."

Phillips damaged two knee ligaments in the Ospreys' EDF semi-final win over Saracens at the Millennium Stadium last Saturday, a week after he celebrated Wales' triumphant Six Nations campaign at the same stadium.

A specialist yesterday confirmed the need for surgery and he will miss the Ospreys' challenge for an EDF Energy Cup and Heineken Cup double as well as Wales' two summer Tests against South Africa.

Phillips established himself as Wales' first-choice scrum-half during the Grand Slam and was shortlisted as one of the six players of the tournament. Wales's assistant coach, Rob Howley, said he was confident the tall No 9 had the mental toughness to return in time for Wales' first autumn international, against the Springboks on 8 November.

"Mike has been in a rich vein of form throughout the Six Nations and has proved to us all what a top-quality player he is," Howley said. "Long-term injuries like this are a blow whenever they occur and it will be a test of Mike's mental toughness and motivation for him to make sure he comes back to the same standard he had reached when he picked up the injury."

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