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Gloucester wing Jonny May has a licence to thrill for England against France

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 30, 2014

  • Jonny May


JONNY May has been given a licence to thrill in France and has vowed to leave nothing on the pitch.

The Gloucester ace will make his Six Nations bow as he wins just his second cap against Les Bleus.

He is part of a new-look backline, including two debutants – Jack Nowell and Luther Burrell – as England bid to kick-off their Championship campaign in style.

May has been in scintillating form for the Cherry and Whites this season, setting Europe alight with his scorching pace.

Lancaster has told the Kingsholm favourite to pull on the Red Rose and express himself in the same manner he does for his club.

And May is raring to go in what is undoubtedly the biggest game of his rapidly burgeoning career.

He said: “Stuart’s said he has complete belief in me and that it’s my time after enjoying some form with Gloucester, a good tour in South Africa and a game in Argentina.

“He’s given me a lot of confidence and belief in myself, it’s a great privilege and I’m really excited about it.

“I’ve played in big games and European matches before. Obviously this is a bigger occasion but I’ll play my part and keep doing what I do every week for Gloucester.

“I’ll try to get involved in the game as much as I can, Stuart’s said he wants me and Jack to do that as much as possible. He’s given me a licence to go out and have a go.

“We’re not short of motivation and myself and Jack will be going hell for leather. We’re playing for England and are so excited, so we won’t be holding anything back.

It has been a long road for May to secure his first taste of Six Nations action. He was on the verge of the first team for two years before finally earning his first cap during the summer tour of Argentina, albeit when England were missing a host of players due to the British Lions tour of Australia and an injury SOS at the 11th hour for Christian Wade.

With Gloucester enduring a torrid season until a rejuvenation in recent weeks, May could have been forgiven for fearing he would miss out again but is self-belief is unwavering.

He said: I’ve been close so many times but each time, as Stuart told me this week, I have been hammering on the door.

“He talked about me having an x-factor to my game but it was about improving on the little things and working on my whole game. I’m already learning a lot in this environment with the likes of Mike Catt.

“It hasn’t been easy at Gloucester. At the beginning of the year I thought it would be our season.

“We finished fifth in the league, had gone places like Saracens and Leicester and come away with bonus-point wins, had a young squad and I thought we would be a hell of a side.

“But for whatever reason, we struggled a bit this season and it’s been difficult. But we believe in ourselves and it’s just a case of doing the best we can.”

That belief will certainly be tested at a partisan Stade de France and if anything rubbed off from meeting childhood hero Jeremy Guscott this week May will be on the right path.

He has already tasted success in France this season, blazing a trail with a sensational solo effort in Gloucester’s Heineken Cup victory over Perpignan two week’s ago.

That try was all about May’s electric pace, something that was fine-tuned by Olympic gold medallist Marlon Devonish in the summer.

The Swindon-born flier is in good company, with the likes of James Simpson-Daniel and Charlie Sharples, at Gloucester and remains tight-lipped on who wins in the quickness stakes.

But every England fan will be hoping May can quench his country’s need for speed as the jewel in northern hemisphere rugby gets underway.

He added: “Speed’s a big part of my game, it’s hard to defend and I’m hoping what I do for Gloucester will serve me well for England.

“There’s a lot of quick boys at Gloucester – myself, Charlie and Steph Reynolds are all sub 11 over 100 metres.

“Charlie’s beat me a few times and I’ve beat him a few times – it’s literally 100ths of seconds between us but we like that and it pushes us on to be the fastest.

“Marlon still comes in. We have a lot of speed at Gloucester with other guys like Henry Trinder and Simpson-Daniel. Obviously it isn’t so much in the season, but he’s come in and his help has been invaluable to me.

“He’d probably describe Simpson-Daniel as a 60metre runner, Charlie 100 metres and me at 200 metres.

“I’ve never played somewhere like the Stade de France but from what I’ve heard, they’re a really passionate nation and it will be an amazing atmosphere. Hopefully I can get my hands on the ball and run at the French.”

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