England ponder Moody return
Lewis Moody has until the end of Tuesday to prove he is ready for England's crunch with France.
Last Updated: 22/02/11 7:09pm
Lewis Moody has until the end of Tuesday to prove he is ready to resume the England captaincy for the RBS Six Nations showdown with France.
The Bath flanker returned to action at the weekend with a 23-minute cameo off the bench against Northampton after five weeks out nursing knee ligament damage.
While Mike Tindall led England in their opening two victories over Wales and Italy, Moody always maintained Saturday's match with France was a realistic target.
England manager Martin Johnson plans to finalise his selection on Tuesday and the indications are that Moody will be involved at Twickenham.
But Johnson still has to be convinced his captain is ready to start such a pivotal Test match, where the only two remaining unbeaten sides go head-to-head.
"We are hoping he is going to be in the right place to be able to participate on Saturday," said Johnson.
"We will know a little more today and name the team for the players."
France are traditionally unpredictable, particularly away from home. Two years ago, they trailed England 29-9 at half-time.
But Johnson, cautious of complacency, will spend this week drumming home the message that England must prepare for the kind of performance France produced to beat Ireland in Dublin.
"Their win in Dublin was a win any team in this championship would have been proud of getting," he added.
"All the talk of 'France dont play well at Twickenham, France don't travel well' is dangerous.
"They think winning here is their route to winning the championship."
Later on Tuesday, England released 10 players back to their clubs, enabling them to play in the weekend's Aviva Premiership fixtures.
Nick Abendanon, George Chuter, Paul Doran-Jones, Phil Dowson, Riki Flutey, Charlie Hodgson, Tim Payne, Chris Robshaw, Joe Simpson and David Strettle have all left the England camp.