JONNY May is ready for the “toughest challenge” of his career after bagging Gloucester’s try of the season.
The Cherry and Whites wing was named in England’s initial 20-man training squad this week and having adorned the number 11 jersey throughout the Six Nations is set to jet to New Zealand.
Last week the 24-year-old admitted he was frustrated with his form since the Championship and was determined to finish the season on a high.
And while May was bitterly disappointed to lose to Worcester Warriors, he was delighted with his two-try performance.
May said: “That result was the story of the season and a repeat of most weeks. Our discipline let us down massively and our ability to make good decisions.
“Scoring those tries doesn’t count for much when you lose. I’m one of those guys that gets really disappointed if we don’t win.
“On a personal note it was good to get on the scoreboard but it brings a real downer on things.”
May raced the length of the pitch and beat two defenders for the try that was crowned at the club’s end of season dinner on Tuesday.
It was typical of May, who has scorched his way to 12 tries this season with a combination of raw pace and dazzling foot-work.
He added: “It was a turnover and Fred just gave me the ball. I saw Josh Drauniniu backing off, he might have been focussed on Steph Reynolds outside me, so I just put my foot down and managed to get outside him.
“I knew Steph would be inside me but I saw Ryan Lamb slow down so I put my foot down again and managed to go all the way.
“It was a good boost for me ahead of a potential summer tour. It’s extremely exciting – I’ve never played in New Zealand before.
“There aren’t many bigger challenges than going out there to play the All Blacks – it will be my toughest challenge as a player.”
Marland Yarde and Charlie Sharples have also been named in England’s initial training party and the likes of Chris Ashton will be added following the conclusions of domestic and European knockout action.
But former Red Rose ace Mark Cueto, who notched up 55 caps and is the Premiership’s all-time top try-scorer, reckons May has had a head start.
And he is confident that the Cherry and White star has the speed and ability to stay ahead of the race and thrive in New Zealand.
Cueto said: “He’s that out-and-out flyer. We talk about different types of wingers and there’s not many guys quicker than him in the Premiership, if in the world.
“I’d put money on him being in the top two or three quickest players in the Premiership without a doubt. And when you’ve got a guy like that in your team, you know there’s always a threat.
“He maybe didn’t get as much of the ball, or as much ball in space, as he’d have liked at the Six Nations.
“But I thought he did alright. He looks to get involved and get his hand on the ball.”
May is still waiting for his first try on the international stage and there will be no tougher place to break his duck than in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
But Cueto has urged him not to worry about statistics and to focus solely on making the most of every minute in a white jersey.
Cueto added: “His carries were quite high in all the games so he’ll be looking just to add game time to his international career.
“Whether you’ve got ten caps or 50 caps, you’re always looking over your shoulder for someone to take your position, particularly at that age.”
Mark Cueto was speaking at the launch of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Policy. Sign up for exclusive access to interviews and competitions at premiershiprugby.com/avivarugbypolicy