Monday, 5 September 2016

Jonny May: I've half an eye on Autumn International return for England

England flyer Jonny May is eyeing an international recall for the Autumn Internationals as he targets a speedy return from a serious knee injury.

After rupturing knee ligaments in December, Gloucester wing May was forced to play the role of frustrated bystander as England completed a Six Nations Grand Slam and whitewashed the Wallabies in Australia.

But now May has his sights set on a potential return against South Africa at Twickenham on November 12.

“Why not go for it?” he tells me. “But if the knee’s not right, I’ll be patient and sensible about it.

“I’ve got plenty of time. I’m only 26.  I want to get a healthy knee and I’m confident my best days are ahead of me.”

May, who has 19 caps, was injured just a month after Eddie Jones arrived as new England boss, but a steady flow of messages from Jones has buoyed May’s confidence, as did his inclusion in Jones’s 45-man provisional squad for the Autumn Internationals.

“I got injured as soon as Eddie came in but he texted me as soon as he found out I’d got injured and has texted me every now and again to check up on me,” said May, whose club, Gloucester, are yet to record a win this season having lost against Leicester and drawn at Worcester.

“I wasn’t expecting that but I was really pleased he did because it gave me a bit of motivation and showed I was still in his thoughts."

“I’m aware I’ve a long way to go and I’ve a lot to get right but I hope that I’ve still got some of my best days ahead of me. I definitely want to play for England again.”

May, who faces a battle with Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell, Harlequins’ Marland Yarde and Bath’s Semesa Rokoduguni for the England wing berths, is scheduled to return to full fitness in the first week of October.

* This is a shortened version of an article that first appeared in The Rugby Paper. For detailed coverage of rugby in the UK at every level, see The Rugby Paper every Sunday.