England captain Lewis Moody has been forced to push back his return to the squad after suffering a recurrence of his knee injury ahead of this weekend’s make or break clash against France. Moody was expected to make his return to lead the side this weekend but after pulling up in training on Tuesday it looks like the Scotland game on March 13th will be his new comeback date.
Moody’s withdrawal from the squad does save Martin Johnson from having to make the tough decision to break up the in-form back-row trio of James Haskell, Tom Wood and Nick Easter with Hendrie Fourie likely to take his place on the bench. The important nature of this weekend’s game will mean Johnson takes no risks with the half-fit Moody and the Scotland game will come at a much better time.
This weekend’s game is a winner takes all scenario when Les Blues line-up at Twickenham with both sides coming in to the match off the back of consecutive wins so far in the tournament. England are the in-form side and Johnson’s men will go into the match as favourites in the Six Nations betting odds to see off the French threat.
A victory this weekend would set England up for their first Grand Slam triumph since 2003 when Johnson wore the captain’s armband. With Moody still out of the side it will be Mike Tindall who continues to lead the side and the future possible King of England has done a sound job in England’s opening two games.