Moody's fitness work brings early reward

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Lynn McConnell     23 Oct 2015     Getty Images

While the size of early-season squads and training camps are often the source of comment and criticism, the method is all about having fringe players familiar with the All Blacks environment and ready to contribute at a moment's notice.

That was the situation Moody found himself in when answering New Zealand's SOS call after injury ruled Tony Woodcock out of the remainder of the World Cup after the pool game against Georgia.

When missing the initial squad Moody was given the message by coach Steve Hansen that he needed to work on his fitness.

So he got into extra work after training sessions with the Canterbury ITM Cup team and delighted Hansen when he arrived in what was described by the coach as 'magnificent condition'.

Having had the chance to go onto the bench for the quarter-final against France, he was called into action before half-time as a result of injury suffered by Wyatt Crockett.

That has meant that he is now first choice for the semi-final against South Africa on Sunday morning (NZT).

It will be Moody's 10th Test.

A former freestyle wrestling champion and a junior Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner, Moody faced the choice of all talented young sportsmen when having to decide which sport took precedence.

Rugby won out, although some of the requirements for wrestling are handy in the rough and tumble of rugby.

"I can use a little bit of it [wrestling technique] in clean outs and the breakdown but not too much otherwise I'd be on the sidelines with yellow cards," he said.

The Springboks, who he is well familiar with as a result of Super Rugby play with the Crusaders, would be a formidable challenge.

"Every time we play them we know it's going to be a physical encounter up front. We're not expecting any different.

"We've done our homework, we know what to expect from them," he said.

Meanwhile, Chiefs prop Pauliasi Manu has been called to London as cover for Crockett.