30 September 2004
World Cup winner Lewis Moody is finally back in action at Welford Road on Monday night.
Moody makes his return after 10 months on the sidelines with a foot injury when Leicester Tigers Development XV meet Northampton Wanderers, kick off 7pm.
Moody can't wait to hear the opening whistle and the 26 year-old said: "I'm a lot fitter and stronger than I have ever been. "I have got a clean bill of health in that the fracture has healed and there's no reason why I can't get on with it now. It's been such a frustrating time for me. I have had so many dates for my comeback that I've had to change because of setbacks. But now I have a date set and I'm so excited."
"I'm trying to remember how to play because the things that came so naturally before will take some time to pick up again. I just want to be out there on the pitch playing rugby again."
Moody says he won't be holding back on his return. He spent seven months on the sidelines with a shoulder injury before suffering his foot injury in the Heineken Cup clash at Stade Francais last December. But he promises more whole-hearted heroics on his return.
Moody said: "I don't think the injury will change my style of playing the game. People tell me to calm down a bit and be careful, but I can't because that's not the way I am. I can't afford to be cautious because of the responsibility I have to the other guys in the team. Rugby is a contact sport and you have to throw yourself about."
Moody threw himself about to good effect during the World Cup - featuring in all seven of England's games and coming off the bench in the final against Australia. But he revealed that he first became aware of his foot injury before the tournament.
Moody said: "The first time I noticed it was when I was walking to the plane on the way out to the World Cup. "My foot locked and then it wore off. But then it came back when I was warming up for the first game of the World Cup and it was difficult to shake it off. But I didn't really notice it because the World Cup is an adrenaline-driven event and I couldn't really remember anything of the games when they were over. I would have recovered quicker if I hadn't been to the World Cup, but the opportunity to play in the World Cup doesn't come along very often."
Moody is in no hurry to play for his country again. He said: "All I want to do is play for Leicester. That's all I have been thinking about for 10 months and now I am almost there."