The wing is now England’s standalone second highest try-scorer
Jonny May scores wonder try against Italy
Jonny May produced a wonder finish in England‘s 41-18 victory over Italy at Twickenham to become his country’s standalone second highest try-scorer.
The Gloucester wing went into the Six Nations match joint level with Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood with 31 tries for his country, but he dived over in the corner just before half-time to move clear.
He still has a way to go to overtake England’s record try-scorer Rory Underwood on 49, but he showed great skill to touch down for that 32nd try against Italy.
England scored six tries in all to ensure they bounced back from last week’s defeat by Scotland with a bonus-point win over Italy, but the game was marred by a serious injury to Jack Willis.
The hosts kept the ball in hand more than in recent Tests, kicking only 6% of possession, but it was still far from the fluid performance many expected.
May’s try certainly provided the highlight. It came just before the break after England opted for a lineout in the 22 from a penalty.
England built with some strong carries from the likes of Courtney Lawes, Kyle Sinckler and Luke Cowan-Dickie before moving back to the blind side with George Ford feeding Elliot Daly, who in turn passed to May. The wing took to the air to avoid the tackle of Luca Sperandio and touched down one-handed in the corner.
Eddie Jones said of May’s try: “He’s obvioulsy been watching rugby league tapes, in NRL that’s a very traditional way of finishing, a smart way of finishing. Absolutely brilliant.”
There was some controversy about whether it was legal for May to jump into the tackle but it is not actually an offence in rugby’s laws.
May’s try gave England a 20-8 lead at the break, but it was Italy who had actually started the stronger.
They may have going into this match with an unwanted 28-game losing streak in the championship (now 29) but they started with confidence and took advantage of England ill-discipline in the opening minutes to put pressure on in the opposition 22.
Then Paolo Garbisi and Jacopo Trulla combined to put Monty Ioane over in the corner.
Jonny Hill scored his first try for England when he went over after a series of pick-and-goes on the line in the 14th minute and the second-row then turned creator for Anthony Watson.
Hill produced a lovely spin pass to the winger, who then cut inside Italy’s defence to run in unopposed under the posts.
It was Watson who scored the bonus-point try in the 50th minute, intercepting a Garbisi pass on his own 22 and sprinting 80 metres to touch down.
Willis was quick to make an impact after coming off the bench midway through the second half, touching down from close range after an initial Dan Robson break. His joy turned to pain within a few minutes, however, after he suffered what looked like a serious knee injury when being cleared out at a breakdown.
The back-row who has been in phenomenal form recently looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines having spent 18 months out with knee and ankle injuries suffered in 2018.
Italy scored their second try shortly after Willis was taken off on a stretcher, Federico Mori breaking into the 22 and offloading to Tommaso Allan, before Elliot Daly crossed for England’s sixth in the 69th minute.
That was that in terms of scoring and while the result will have been welcome for England, it was still not as convincing as expected.
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