Moody back to lead England against Georgia

England captain Lewis Moody at the official welcome ceremony for the Rugby World Cup at Dunedin...
England captain Lewis Moody at the official welcome ceremony for the Rugby World Cup at Dunedin Town Hall. Photo: REUTERS/Brandon Malone
Flanker Lewis Moody will return to lead England in Sunday's World Cup game against Georgia in Dunedin after manager Martin Johnson made nine changes to the side that beat Argentina in their Pool B opener.

Moody lasted an hour of England's warm-up match against Wales at Twickenham on Aug. 6 before limping off with a recurrence of the knee ligament injury first sustained in January and which kept him out of the Six Nations championship.

In his absence Mike Tindall led England to win the title for the first time in eight years and there were concerns that the 33-year-old Moody, who featured in all 14 of England's matches in the last two World Cups, would not be fit for his third tournament.

However, Johnson said last week that the player, nicknamed "crazyhorse" for his fearless approach, was back to full fitness and wins his 68th cap at his usual position of openside flanker for Sunday's match (0600 GMT), with Tom Wood coming in at blindside.

Toby Flood, first choice during the Six Nations but now back behind Jonny Wilkinson in the pecking order, starts at flyhalf while Ben Youngs, who turned the game with his try-scoring contribution off the bench against Argentina, starting at scrumhalf having fully recovered from knee surgery that kept him out of the August warm-up games.

Shontayne Hape comes in at inside centre as Tindall is rested from the match 22 while uncapped scrumhalf Joe Simpson is among the replacements.

There is a new, powerful second-row partnership as Simon Shaw and Tom Palmer come in for Louis Deacon and the suspended Courtney Lawes.

Matt Stevens starts at loosehead prop in place of Andrew Sheridan, who has flown home with a shoulder injury, while Dylan Hartley gets the hooker's jersey.

England:  15-Ben Foden, 14-Chris Ashton, 13-Manu Tuilagi, 12-Shontayne Hape, 11-Delon Armitage, 10-Toby Flood, 9-Ben Youngs, 8-Nick Raster, 7-Lewis Moody (captain), 6-Tom Wood, 5-Tom Palmer, 4-Simon Shaw, 3-Dan Cole, 2-Dylan Hartley, 1-Matt Stevens.


Replacements: 16-Steve Thompson, 17-Alex Corbisiero, 18-Tom Croft, 19-James Haskell, 20-Joe Simpson, 21-Jonny Wilkinson, 22-Matt Banahan.

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