TWICKENHAM, United Kingdom, Nov 21 – Eddie Jones hailed Jonny May as a “serious finisher” after the wing’s two tries set up England’s 18-7 Autumn Nations Cup win over Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.
May opened the scoring in the 17th minute when he got on the end of England captain Owen Farrell’s cross-kick after impressively out-jumping Ireland full-back Hugo Keenan.
Minutes later he scored a superb solo try, producing two fine kicks of his own after running from near his own line and beating several Ireland defenders to crown a brilliant length-of-the-field effort.
May has now scored 31 tries in 59 Tests, level with Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood but with only retired wing Rory Underwood (49 in 85) ahead of him in England’s all-time list of try-scorers.
England coach Jones, asked how highly May rated among all the great finishers he’d seen, told reporters: “Jonny is right up there if you consider he’s 30 and is still improving every aspect of his game.
“He’s such a dedicated trainer and is obsessed about getting better.”
Veteran Australian coach Jones, recalling May’s tendency to run cross-field to no effect early in his Test career, added: “I remember watching him in the 2015 World Cup and at one stage he was going to end up in Row K. Now he’s a serious finisher.”
For all their first-half dominance and solid defence — Ireland didn’t score until replacement Jacob Stockdale’s try seven minutes from time — England only managed six points themselves after the break courtesy of two penalties from Farrell.
Jones, however, had no complaints after his Six Nations champions’ fourth successive win over Ireland.
“I’m never disappointed when we beat Ireland,” he said. “I know how hard it is to beat Ireland, I know how hard the boys worked and we’ve been beaten by Ireland, and it’s not a good feeling mate.”
England, last year’s losing World Cup finalists, will top Pool A with victory away to Wales next weekend.
Wales had lost six matches in a row prior to Saturday’s 18-0 win over Georgia, yet to score a point in this tournament following last week’s 40-0 defeat by England.
But former Australia and Japan coach Jones warned Wales would raise their game against England.
“We know this is their game of the year, they’ve had a tough run lately,” he said. “They’re always different against us.
“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.”