England wing Jonny May said that he had been running on instinct after scoring a stunning solo try in an 18-7 Autumn Nations Cup win over Ireland on Saturday.
The 30-year-old produced one of the all-time great Twickenham tries after bursting clear from near his own line before beating the Ireland cover, chipping ahead and then chasing down his own hacked kick for a score between the posts.
It was a score that deserved to be cheered by a capacity 80,000 crowd, but May, who only minutes earlier had put England 5-0 up with the first of his side’s two tries, had to settle for the congratulations of teammates in a fixture played behind closed doors because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everything happened really quickly, I can’t really remember it at the moment,” May told reporters.
“Off the back of good work defensively it creates the turnover and gives us the ball in space, so credit to the pack,” he added.
Asked if the sensational try was purely a matter of instinct, May said: “A hundred percent. I don’t have enough time to think about it when it’s like that off a quick turnover ball.”
“It is awesome scoring tries for England,” added May, whose 17th-minute opening try saw him outjump Ireland fullback Hugo Keenan to catch England captain Owen Farrell’s cross-kick.
England coach Eddie Jones said May is one of the best finishers he has seen.
“Jonny is right up there if you consider he’s 30 and is still improving every aspect of his game,” he said.
May has scored 31 tries in 59 Tests, equaling the England tallies of Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood, with only retired wing Rory Underwood (49 in 85) ahead of him in the all-time Red Rose list of try scorers.
While England dominated the opening 40 minutes, they still only led 12-0 at halftime thanks to May’s double, with one try converted by Farrell.
However, two Farrell penalties early in the second half gave England breathing space.
By the time Ireland replacement Jacob Stockdale scored a 73rd-minute converted try, England had the game won thanks to resolute defense that saw their pack win several turnover penalties.
England would be assured of topping Pool A with a victory away to Wales next weekend.
Yet a wary Jones said: “They [Welsh rock band Stereophonics] wrote a song about how the only game that counts is beating England, so we’re anticipating a different animal next Saturday.”
Wales ended their six-Test losing streak with an umimpressive 18-0 win over Georgia in their match at Llanelli on Saturday.
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