England have suffered a massive blow ahead of their World Cup opener against Argentina, with the news that veteran skipper Lewis Moody will not recover from injury in time to lead out his side.
The 33-year-old injured his knee ligaments in a warm-up clash with Wales at the beginning of August, in what has been a recurring problem after the big flank injured the same knee in January while playing for Bath.
"Lewis won't play at the weekend," England manager Martin Johnson told the media. "He is not quite ready to go today [Monday]. We hoped he would be fit to start training but he is not quite there.
"The medics and the fitness guys take him through a progression of training and we hoped it would all be ready to go today, but he is just a little bit short."
Having played only 62 minutes of Test rugby this year there will be concerns that Moody is undercooked, while his likely replacement James Haskell has been in fine form for England this year.
Veteran centre Mike Tindall is the obvious choice to captain the side in the Moody's absence, having taken on the role during the Six Nations this year.
"We are very happy with the other guys so it is a very simple decision to hold him back another week," said Johnson. "It is the opening game of what hopefully is a long tournament so you can force these things sometimes and that can go either way."
Johnson is confident that Moody will still be able to make a big impact in the tournament at a later stage.
"He has been running around today so he is not a million miles away," Johnson added. "It is just one of those calls, 'are you ready to participate fully this week and play a Test match this Saturday?' Not quite."
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