x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Moody plugs gap at Bath

Lewis Moody, the England flanker, will sign for Bath at the end of the season, ending a 14-year playing career with the Leicester Tigers.

Lewis Moody, the England flanker, will sign for Bath at the end of the season, ending a 14-year playing career with the Leicester Tigers. Moody, 31, has played 216 times for Leicester since his debut in 1996, scoring 34 tries in the process but the Welford Road club were probably reluctant to offer a long-term deal to an injury-prone player who spends large chunks of the season on international duty.

The Tigers already have a replacement for Moody lined up, having agreed to sign back-row forward Thomas Waldrom from the Canterbury Crusaders in the summer. "I am really looking forward to an exciting new challenge at this stage of my career," said Moody. "Bath Rugby's values perfectly suit my own, it is a great city and club, with a real family feel and a close knit and impressive squad. "I have always known that if I was ever going to leave Leicester, the only club I would consider in the UK would be Bath.

"They play an exciting brand of rugby and having spent time with both [coach] Steve Meehan and [chief executive] Nick Blofeld I am sure that there are exciting years ahead." Moody, who has 59 England caps and has played three times for the British & Irish Lions, will leave a team currently top of the Guinness Premiership for a mid-table side who are desperate for a player of his stature. "Lewis is a proven winner and he brings vast experience, a fierce determination and great attitude with him," said Meehan.

"Adapting to our style of play shouldn't be a problem and we expect him to help create more opportunities and momentum up front." Richard Cockerill, the Leicester head coach, said: "Lewis has been a big part of this club for a long time and he has won every major honour in his time here. "Everyone knows about the enthusiasm he brings to his game, and that has not altered during his 14 years in the first-team squad, which says a lot for his attitude to the game of rugby."

The Tigers can extend their one-point lead over Northampton at the top of the table if they beat London Irish today. However, a bonus point win for the fourth-placed Irish could move them within a point of the Tigers. In the Super 14, Luke Morahan scored the match-winning try as the Queensland Reds came from 15 points down to end the Waikato Chiefs' unbeaten start to the season yesterday.

"It was an outstanding effort from the boys, just really proud. We really dug deep when we were down in the second half," said the Reds captain Will Genia. "A lot of [people] questioned our depth but the young guys really stood up and I'm very happy for the boys." In the day's other game, the CA Brumbies ground out a 24-13 victory over the Golden Lions in a rain-soaked Canberra. akunawicz@thenational.ae