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All Black Moody's fitness work pays off

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/06/2016 Robert Lowe

Joe Moody of the All Blacks takes a pass during a New Zealand All Blacks training session at Dillworth College on June 2, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. © Phil Walter/Getty Images Joe Moody of the All Blacks takes a pass during a New Zealand All Blacks training session at Dillworth College on June 2, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. Prop Joe Moody's work on his fitness has continued to pay dividends with his selection as starting loosehead prop for the All Blacks' opening Test against Wales.

Moody missed the initial cut for the New Zealand squad for last year's Rugby World Cup squad, but got a mid-tournament call-up as injury replacement for veteran Tony Woodcock.

He went on to play in all three knock-out rounds, helping New Zealand lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the third time.

Coach Steve Hansen has praised the way Moody reacted to the disappointment of his non-selection in the original cup squad.

"He wasn't fit enough and that was the only reason he didn't get picked initially," Hansen said.

"So he went away and worked hard on that. To his credit, when he got an opportunity through injury, he turned up and had a massive part to play in our later games."

Hansen said Moody cemented himself as the All Blacks' No.1 loosehead in the tournament and continued his good form with Super Rugby leaders the Crusaders.

Moody, 27, was originally picked for the All Blacks for the 2013 end-of-year tour, but didn't get on the plane after suffering a leg injury playing for Canterbury.

His Test debut came a year later against Australia and he will earn his 12th cap when he runs out at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday night.

Moody said he was well aware last year that he wasn't where he needed to be with his fitness.

"That was my biggest work-on, so I went away and just worked on that," he said.

"That was my main focus. After all our training sessions, I did extra running, extra conditioning to get to where I needed to be. I feel like I'm pretty close with that now, but I can't let it slip.

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