Moody’s mind on the job

Lewis Moody has told of how he has sought the help of a sports psychologist to stop him exploding "in a manner I wouldn't want" on the rugby pitch. [more]

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Lewis Moody has told of how he has sought the help of a sports psychologist to stop him exploding "in a manner I wouldn’t want" on the rugby pitch.

The Leicester star – nicknamed Crazy Horse and Mad Dog – has assured England fans that he is intending to produce one of his trademark no-fear displays against opening RBS 6 Nations opponents Wales.

He was magnificent during the World Cup, tearing into opposition players without the slightest regard for his personal safety.

Moody’s all-action performances were instrumental behind England climbing off the canvas and almost retaining their world title during 36 days of head-spinning activity from Paris to Marseille and back again last autumn.

He is arguably in the form of his life, with Saturday’s Twickenham head-to-head against imperious Wales flanker Martyn Williams promising rich entertainment.

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And psychology has played its part in Moody recovering brilliantly from the ignominy of being the first England player sent off during a Test match at Twickenham.

A nine-week ban ensued after he was dismissed for fighting against Samoa in November 2005, with that suspension following a six-week sentence imposed just two months earlier when he threw a punch in a Leicester second team game.

Moody said: "I have only been banned twice in my career, and they both came in the same season.

"At that point, I thought there was something strange going on. I had been playing for 10 years and never been sent off or banned, and I had two periods of suspension in one season.

"I then just took it on myself to see if there was anything I could do to make sure it didn’t happen again.

"I went to see a sports psychologist after the Samoa game when I got sent off, and I still see him on and off now. In fact, I spoke to him before the World Cup.

"It actually just helps me approach periods of time when I am out of the game, like through injury.

"I get very frustrated when I am not able to play, and that tends to get exaggerated when I am off. Then when I am allowed out on to the pitch again, it could explode in a manner that I wouldn’t want.

"It is about controlling your mind that if something happens during a game you would react instinctively to, you now set your mind somewhere else."

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