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Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Friday, 23 January 2009

Injured Moody out of Six Nations

Lewis Moody
Leicester flanker Moody has made 53 appearances for England

England's Six Nations preparations have been dealt yet another blow after flanker Lewis Moody was ruled out for up to three months with a broken ankle.

The 30-year-old sustained the injury training with his club Leicester on Thursday and had surgery on Friday.

The lay-off rules him out of the entire Six Nations campaign, which begins on 7 February when England play Italy.

He joins fellow flanker Tom Rees on the sidelines, while Matt Stevens is unavailable after failing a drugs test.

It is a big blow for Moody, who was hoping to re-establish himself in the England side after missing the autumn internationals following an ankle operation.

He said: "There is never a good time to get injured, but it's even more frustrating when you are playing well.


"I have felt good since I got back into the Leicester team and I was gutted when a break was confirmed."

England team manager Martin Johnson said: "I know how hard Lewis worked to recover from his previous injury so my thoughts are with him and I wish him a speedy return to fitness."

Moody's injury could open the way for specialist open-side flanker Steffon Armitage to step up from the Saxons squad.

Bath skipper Michael Lipman could also be in the frame for a return to the senior England squad.

There was more bad news for Leicester, with centre Dan Hipkiss ruled out for up to six weeks after knee surgery.

The 26-year-old picked up the injury in the same incident in which he tore a hamstring against Bath at Welford Road on 4 January.

"Injuries are occupational hazards of the game," said the centre, who has been forced to withdraw from the England Saxons squad.

"I need a cartilage repaired and will probably be out for four to six weeks.

"It's not ideal but it's nothing serious. I am trying not to worry about it."

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Ospreys v Leicester (Sat)
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Rees Six Nations blow for England
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