Eddie Jones has tipped Jonny May to surpass Rory Underwood as England’s top try scorer and believes his best is yet to come.
May scored twice in Saturday’s 18-7 Autumn Nations Cup victory over Ireland, the second a highlight-reel try that saw him travel virtually the entire length of Twickenham.
The 30-year-old is now joint second with Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood in England’s all-time list on 31 and Jones lauded May’s special talent.
“I don’t see why he can’t reach that total. He’s only going to get better and better. I think he’s going to be at his best when he’s about 32, 33,” Jones said.
“He’s 30 now so there’s no reason why he can’t keep scoring tries and being one of our most important players.
“He’s an incredible rugby player. What I’ve seen in that boy in the time I’ve been lucky enough to coach him has been outstanding.
“I’ve never seen a more professional player. He continues to get better, he gets faster, stronger, more elusive and his work off the ball is exceptional. He’s always looking for ways to get quicker.”
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The Gloucester wing’s all-round game and the expectations placed upon him by the England coaching staff have been refined over the years.
Jones believes May has matured as a player as he has got older, becoming in the process an indispensable part of the England attacking armoury.
“Maybe when he was a bit younger he used to get a bit despondent when he didn’t score tries, now he knows that his role is much bigger than that,” Jones said.
“While tries are obviously cherished, they aren’t the things that dictate whether you’ve had a good game or not.”
Next up for England is their final Group A game against Wales in Llanelli on Saturday where a victory would guarantee a place in the final – most likely against France.
Jones is anticipating a different type of test when his players pay a visit to what the England coach described as the spiritual home of Welsh rugby.
“They are playing at the heart and soul of Welsh rugby, at the Llanelli home ground, where they had some of the greatest victories in Welsh rugby,” Jones added.
“We know they are going to be a completely different animal.”
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