England skipper Moody quits international scene

England rugby coach Martin Johnson praised his captain Lewis Moody on Sunday after the flanker announced...

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England rugby coach Martin Johnson praised his captain Lewis Moody on Sunday after the flanker announced earlier in the day he was stepping down from international rugby.

"Lewis has been a great servant to English rugby and has literally put his body on the line more times than he can probably remember," Johnson said of the 2003 World Cup winner.

"To play in two World Cup finals and then lead his country in a third campaign is a great testament to him.

"He will be missed on and off the field and on behalf of everyone in the England squad, players, coaches and management, we wish him all the best for the rest of his career."

England's 2011 World Cup campaign ended in ignominy with a quarter-final defeat to France, and their tournament was marked by ill-discipline on and off the pitch.

Moody, who won 71 caps, said: "If England want to start planning for a successful World Cup in four years' time, it is my belief they should be appointing a new captain from February.

"Even if they still wanted me to carry on, there's no way I would last another four years," the 33-year-old added.