London – England coach Eddie Jones said that Jonny May’s extraordinary try in Saturday’s 41-18 Six Nations victory over Italy reminded him of a rugby league finish, though the flying up-and-over dive would have probably been more at home in last week’s Super Bowl.
May received the ball on the left touchline in the final play of the first half but his route to the line was seemingly blocked by hefty Italy winger Luca Sperandio.
It proved no barrier for May, however, who launched into a dive up and above his opponent and managed to touch the ball down.
It was just the sort of acrobatic leap often seen in the NFL to overcome a defensive line guarding the end zone and something Jones has seen many times before in his native Australia.
“He’s obviously been watching rugby league,” he said. “It’s traditionally a way of scoring, a smart way, in the NRL (National Rugby League) — absolutely brilliant.
“I think he’s looked at videos, but he’s such a great try scorer.”
The try took May’s international tally to 32, clear in second place behind 49-try Rory Underwood in the England pecking order.
Fellow winger Anthony Watson also had a good day as he ended an 11-month drought with a score in each half. He then spent the last 15 minutes as a makeshift forward after an horrific-looking knee injury ended flanker Jack Willis’s involvement.
“I thought he was better at number eight than wing,” said Jones — in a far more jovial mood than through the week as he dealt with the fallout from the defeat against Scotland.
“He looked sharp, he’s getting back to his best form. He had a difficult time after the World Cup and had a number of injuries but he’s had a good block of training now.”
Overall Jones was pleased with his side’s display against an inexperienced Italian team that stood up strongly and even had the temerity to open scoring with a second-minute try by Monty Ioane.
“We were a bit slow into the game, but I think it ended up being a good thing for us,” Jones said of the nicely-created score. “When you’re playing a team you are supposed to win against it sharpens you up a bit — I wasn’t too perturbed.
“Last week we gave the players too much information, wrong information, and it takes away a bit of energy. This week we were much more concise and had a week full of good clarity and the players played with good energy.”
England travel to Wales in their next game and will hope they can emulate last season’s achievement of recovering from a first-round defeat to go on and win the title.
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