Eddie Jones, England’s head coach, hailed ‘the serious finisher,’ that is Jonny May as the Gloucester wing lit up a gloomy Twickenham with a breath-taking solo try that helped his team to an 18-7 win over Ireland.
The victory keeps England at the top of Pool A in the Autumn Nations Cup and they head to Parc y Scarlets next Saturday to take on Wales for a place in the final the following week.
May scored both of England’s tries in the first half, his breakout score coming only five minutes after he had snatched the ball from the grasp of Ireland full-back, Hugo Keenan, to touch down for his 30th international try. His second, weaving his way out of his own 22 and beating Ireland scrum-half, Jamison Gibson-Park, in a foot-race to the line, took him to equal second place on England’s all-time list behind Rory Underwood on 49 tries.
“Jonny is right up there with the best,” said Jones. “He is only 30 and still improving. I remember seeing him in 2015 when he almost ended up in Row K as he weaved crossfield. Now he is a serious finisher. Jonny is a great role model for everyone in the team. He is obsessed with getting better. He is only 30 and still improving.”
May had been itching to get a chance to show what he had to offer after a barren spell that has seen him go without a try since the opening round of the Six Nations championship against France in Paris. His second try sees him draw level alongside Will Greenwood and Ben Cohen.
Jones is already bracing his team for a searching examination in Llanelli even though Wales have been struggling badly under new head coach, Wayne Pivac.
“Wales are always a different animal against England, it’s the game of the year for them.” said Jones. “Didn’t they (The Stereophonics) write a song about it, about how the only thing that counts is beating England? Wales will be really up for it. We’re playing at a (club) ground that is not a (international) stadium that is open to the elements.”
Jones also dismissed the notion that England have been limited in their attacking intent in their recent matches.
“I’m never disappointed when we beat Ireland,” said Jones. “You can be disappointed (with our attack). I’m not. We’ve got a good feeling in our dressing-room. Ireland probably haven’t got a good feeling in their dressing-room.”
Ireland head coach, Andy Farrell, was not despondent despite his team’s fourth successive loss to England.
“Of course I see signs that the gap is closing,” said Farrell. “We are at different stages of our journeys. We will be better for the experience.”