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Meehan backing Moody
Bath boss says Moody ready to return to England duty next week
Bath boss Steve Meehan says Lewis Moody is ready to start for England against France next week after his return to action against Northampton on Saturday.
Moody made a 23-minute appearance as Bath battered Saints 38-8 at The Rec in the Aviva Premiership, and Meehan believes he is fit enough to start again for England.
After captaining England during the autumn, Moody missed the RBS Six Nations wins over Wales and Italy through injury, and has had limited action in the last five weeks.
However, Meehan would not be surprised if Moody started for England at Twickenham on Saturday against France, most likely in place of James Haskell, and also regained the captaincy off Mike Tindall.
"Martin Johnson hinted at it in the week when he said that guys who have been around for 10 years with 70 caps (like Moody) have credits in the bank," said Meehan.
"If he is fit enough, and as captain, I wouldn't be surprised if he ran out against France."
Moody said he was delighted to be back, emerging unscathed from his first appearance since he was injured during Bath's Heineken Cup clash against Italian side Aironi last month.
"I felt good. It is nice to have a run-out," he said. "The knee is a little bit stiff, but I didn't feel it at all during the game. Fingers crossed, we have gone through everything, and full credit to the physios for everything they've done.
"Everyone has worked very hard - and I am going to be an excitable boy to be back in the England camp tomorrow.
"It is a decision for the week. It is nice to be fit and getting out on to the pitch and having some game-time. I was a little bit nervous, not for the knee, but just to be back out there and playing."
Matt Banahan also sent out a message to Johnson with three tries during Bath's emphatic victory.
On Banahan's blistering display, Meehan added: "He certainly sent a message to the England coaches. They should be confident of starting him. Today was a good illustration of what he is about."
A delighted Banahan was quick to offer praise elsewhere though, as Bath made it seven wins from their last eight starts in all competitions.
"I thought some of the forwards were outstanding - they really put the hard yards in," he said. "Rugby is a game you are always learning about, and it is about giving myself the best opportunity in a game."
It was Saints' fourth successive league loss, and rugby director Jim Mallinder did not use the 20-minute delay to the start as an excuse.
"It wasn't ideal," he said. "But professional players have got to cope with different things. It did not affect the outcome of the game.
"If you let Bath get on the front foot, they've got a really good offloading game, and when Matt Banahan has a game like that, they are very difficult to stop.
"We were all at sea. The players know they played badly. They have come off second best after a bad day at the office."
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|Friday 14th November|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Harlequins|
|19:45||Northampton vs Exeter|
|Saturday 15th November|
|14:00||Sale vs London Irish|
|17:00||Bath vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 16th November|
|13:00||Leicester vs Saracens|
|15:15||Wasps vs London Welsh|
|Friday 21st November|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Sale|
|20:00||Newcastle vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|15:00||London Irish vs Bath|
|15:00||Exeter vs Wasps|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|13:00||Saracens vs Northampton|
|15:15||London Welsh vs Leicester|
|Friday 28th November|
|19:45||Bath vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 29th November|
|15:00||Leicester vs Wasps|
|16:30||Exeter vs Saracens|
|Sunday 30th November|
|13:00||London Irish vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Northampton|
|15:15||Newcastle vs Sale|
|Saturday 20th December|
|14:00||Sale vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Bath|
|15:00||Northampton vs Leicester|
|15:00||Saracens vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 21st December|
|14:00||Wasps vs London Irish|
|Friday 26th December|
|15:00||London Irish vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 12th October|
|Wasps 29 - 22 Bath|
|Saturday 11th October|
|Northampton 43 - 10 Sale Sharks|
|Saracens 28 - 21 Gloucester|
|Exeter 44 - 24 London Irish|
|London Welsh 3 - 23 Newcastle|
|Friday 10th October|
|Leicester 22 - 16 Harlequins|
|Sunday 5th October|
|Newcastle 29 - 24 Exeter|
|Sale 25 - 14 Wasps|
|Saturday 4th October|
|Gloucester 33 - 16 Leicester|
|Harlequins 52 - 0 London Welsh|
|London Irish 12 - 19 Northampton|
|Friday 3rd October|
|Bath 21 - 11 Saracens|
|Sunday 28th September|
|Wasps 35 - 18 Newcastle|
|Exeter 36 - 13 Harlequins|
|Saturday 27th September|
|Northampton 31 - 24 Bath|
|Leicester 19 - 22 London Irish|
|Saracens 40 - 19 Sale Sharks|
|Friday 26th September|
|London Welsh 10 - 46 Gloucester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|Newcastle 10 - 35 Northampton|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Bath 45 - 0 Leicester|
|Harlequins 26 - 23 Wasps|
|London Irish 32 - 36 Saracens|
|Sale 46 - 8 London Welsh|
|Friday 19th September|
|Gloucester 22 - 25 Exeter|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Newcastle 18 - 20 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com