Moody: ‘These are the games you want to play in’

Lewis Moody is set for another frustrating weekend on the sidelines, this time watching current club Bath take on former club Leicester. Tom James spoke to him yesterday as he took time out from the Gatorade coaching masterclass at Bath.

Lewis Moody

Lewis Moody hopes to put a frustrating injury lay-off aside when he returns to play for Bath next weekend against Saracens at Vicarage Road. His knee injury had proved to be more troublesome than was first perceived and resulted in the England captain missing the entirety of the Six Nations competition. But Moody hopes to be back for the match against their promotion rivals. A fearsome competitor, Moody has been frustrated by the time spent on the sidelines.

“These are the games that you desperately want to play in so I’ve been gutted that I haven’t been involved. They’ve (Bath) really stepped up in recent weeks and the guys have come on leaps and bounds, obviously with the Gloucester match last week as an exception.”

That loss against Gloucester marked Bath’s first loss after a run of five straight victories and meant that the club remained in fifth position, agonisingly close to the play-off spots. Though more importantly, that match also saw a horrific leg break for Bath inside centre Olly Barkley. As a man who has spent a large amount of time in rehabilitation recently, Moody was sympathetic to the Bath centre’s cruel luck. “It’s really disappointing for him and I’m sure he’ll be devastated. But rugby is a physical game and these things happen. I’m sure he’ll make a full recovery and come back all the better for it.”

This weekend Bath will face a full test of their play-off credentials when they host Moody’s previous club Leicester Tigers, who still maintain their base at the peak of the Premiership table. With ex-Tiger Sam Vesty looking likely to gain from Barkley’s lay off and start this weekend, the presence of two Leicester old boys will help in Bath’s preparations. “The boys did very well the last time they played against them but if there’s any way that I can help then of course I’ll be offering some advice. We’ve got some players returning to fitness and from international duty which will no doubt help. Banners (Matt Banahan) has been on fire recently so obviously it’s great to have him back.”

But tactical expertise may not be the only area in which Moody and Vesty may have helped Bath. In February the West Country side announced the signing of Leicester centre Dan Hipkiss, and Moody’s words may have helped to gently nudge Hipkiss down the route that Moody and Vesty took last year. “Of course Sammy and I had a few words with Dan about moving here. He had a couple of offers from elsewhere but he’s coming here and I think he’ll be a fantastic signing.”

Moody was also impressed by Bath’s other transfer dealings, in particular with the signing of Kyle Eastmond from rugby league side St. Helens. “They’ve made some outstanding signings and hopefully there will still be a few more. Kyle Eastmond is coming over from league so we’ll have to see how that goes but he’s a great operator and I’m sure he’ll be a big success.”

Moody must wait until next weekend before he can return to action, and for him the sight of his old club coming to the Rec will represent a big disappointment. However if Bath can repeat their LV= Cup triumph over the Premiership champions this weekend, then that will perhaps be the best get well present that they can possibly offer.

By Tom James

Bath RFC is one of a series of AVIVA Premiership Rugby clubs working with Gatorade to encourage players of all levels to stay ahead of the game and improve their performance. Lewis Moody and teammates were at Bath’s training ground filming a series of coaching videos to be featured online next month. Gatorade is the official hydration partner of the AVIVA Premiership.