As stunning Test tries go, Jonny May’s maiden one against New Zealand at Twickenham in November 2014 has few equals. His long-range run in the opening minutes illustrated his pace, panache, shimmy, check and go – most of it achieved in a confined space against a team famed for defensive resilience. Two matches on, he crowned his tenth cap with two tries in England’s 28-9 win over Samoa and his impressive display against France in the initial Rugby World Cup warm-up match in August 2015 featured a try from a subtle diagonal kick from Alex Goode.
The following month in the final preparatory game against Ireland, he took a perfectly directed pass from Ben Youngs to fend off Tommy Bowe before beating Simon Zebo for his fifth international try. Ben also provided a blind-side pass for his sixth England try against Wales at Twickenham that September.
Injury prevented him from playing in the subsequent Six Nations and touring Australia in June 2016 but he returned after 13 months’ absence from the side with a try from a devastating, angled run against South Africa at Twickenham that November. It was created from a smoothly-worked double decoy move. He was ruled out of the Fiji match the following week because he was not 100% fit but returned seven days later to run in his eighth try with ease from a four-to-three overlap after George Ford cleverly delayed a pass to Tom Wood. His ninth touchdown against Argentina at San Juan this June stemmed from a subtle chip through to the corner by Henry Slade.
He reached double figures in the Australia match at Twickenham, in November after chasing a kick from Danny Care in the closing minutes. Seconds later, he returned the compliment by creating a try for the Harlequins scrum half in a remarkable finale.
Since being named as the LV= Breakthrough Player in March 2012 from a shortlist of six, Jonny’s career has gathered impressive momentum. He joined the England squad in Johannesburg in June 2012 as a replacement for Harlequins’ George Lowe, who had returned home after a scan showed left ankle ligament damage.
He was an instant hit, scoring two tries off the bench for Ugo Monye in the 57-31 win over the South African Barbarians North team at Potchefstroom. His first was outstanding and included a pirouette after a dance down the touchline, while his second also reflected his intuitive skills.
Jonny played in both Saxons games in 2012, making his debut against Ireland Wolfhounds, also appeared against Scotland A in February 2013 and won his first full cap against Argentina at Buenos Aires the following June. His RBS 6 Nations Championship debut against France in Paris in February 2014 spanned only eight minutes before he left the field with a broken nose but he played for 70 minutes against Scotland the following week.
He was England's joint leading ball-carrier, along with Billy Twelvetrees, with 12 against Ireland at Twickenham the same month and gained 67 metres in all. Six of his first seven caps were consecutive, up to and including the first Test against the All Blacks at Eden Park in June 2014.
His excellence dates back to the 2009 EDF Energy Intermediate Cup final when he contributed three tries to Hartpury College’s 41-31 win over Clifton at Twickenham. It was a harbinger of greater things for him as his 62 tries in 138 senior appearances for Gloucester illustrate. He made a spectacular start to his Leicester Tigers career this season with ten tries in nine matches.
Swindon-born Jonny became a regular member of Gloucester’s A League side in 2009-10, having made an initial breakthrough in pre-season with a memorable try in his second friendly match for Gloucester against Connacht. He made his competitive debut in the Heineken Cup in the Newport Gwent Dragons game two months later.
A newcomer to the England U20 squad in 2010, he scored two tries in three Six Nations games at that level and then bagged three in the opening IRB Junior World Championship against hosts Argentina. He went on to play in the other four matches. It was his first experience of representative rugby in the UK but he did spend the summer of 2007 playing in Australia for the Brumbies Academy.
He was on a dual registration with Moseley before signing a new contract with Gloucester in the spring of 2011 and the following season he made 27 first-team appearances and scored ten tries. His only previous club was Royal Wootton Bassett, where he starting playing when five. Jonny was educated at Ridgeway School, initially played for Swindon Town Football Academy and was seventh in the Great Britain U15 pole vault in 2003.
He has learnt much from Chris Dewsnap, late of Hartpury College, Allan Lewis, who was director of rugby there and Gloucester Academy pair Mark Cornwell and Phil Greenaway. Former internationals Will Greenwood, Jerry Guscott and Tana Umaga are his most respected players.
60 points – 12T
2013 Arg (2) 2014 F, S, I, W, It, NZ(1), NZ, SA, Sam, A 2015 W, It, F, F, I World Cup - Fj, W, A, 2016 SA, Arg, A 2017 F, W(R), It, Arg (1,2), A(R), Sam 2018 It, W
Last updated: 12 February 2018