I have had the privilege of knowing Lewis Moody for some eight years and I was so disappointed to see the way he was portrayed in this week’s national newspapers, writes Rugby World editor Paul Morgan.

After one England player made a throw-away comment about him getting involved in commercial deals while at the World Cup he is somehow painted as a money-motivated rugby player who plays our great game for one reason – the cash.

When I first saw those headlines I didn’t know whether to laugh at the ludicrous nature of the accusations of whether to get very angry indeed.

Every battle has its casualties but I’m not going to stand back and let Lewis Moody be one of them.

Those who know Lewis and in fact those who have seen him play and maybe only met him once know one thing about this guy – he is not motivated by money.

He is courteous, loyal, honest and the sort of bloke you’d like to go to the pub with, and not just because he would buy the first round.

He has a young family and is part of an international rugby team that regularly packs 82,000 people into Twickenham so he deserves a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

People don’t come to Twickenham to watch the person from the higher echelons of our game who leaked this report in the World Cup campaign. They come to watch players like Lewis Moody.

Did you know the RFU make £7 million from each Twickenham home game. Yes, £7m profit, so I think they can afford to play Lewis and the team a fair wage don’t you?

And that is all Lewis and his fellow players have ever asked for.

Did you also know that every member of England’s 22 is paid the same. That’s the deal Johnson, Dallalgio and Co cut a few years ago. So it means a youngster with one cap gets the same as the captain. Does that really sound like a deal struck my money-grabbers?

I have interviewed hundreds of sports stars over my 20 years as a journalist and I can’t actually think of anyone who is less driven by money than Lewis Moody and it makes my blood boil to see his reputation harmed by these ludicrous allegations.

Can anyone who’s seen him throwing his body on the line for club and country seriously believe this about a man with his standards? He has put his body on the line time and time again without any regard for his safety. Lewis Moody is the sort of man we should be lauding from the rooftops and he embodies all the ideals that are great about our game.

We must cherish the Lewis Moodys of this world. They’ll be gone soon and it is only then the selfish people who oppose him will understand what they are missing!

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