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Jones: May up there with the very best

Jones: May up there with the very best

Jones: May up there with the very best

Eddie Jones warned the rugby world that Jonny May is still improving, after the deadly winger steered England to an 18-7 win over Ireland with a brace of tries in their second Autumn Nations Cup clash.

The reigning Guinness Six Nations champions made the perfect start to Group A with 40-0 victory over Georgia in Round 1, and got off to a flyer back at Twickenham when May latched on to Owen Farrell’s cross-field kick to break the deadlock in the 16th minute.

The 30-year-old then doubled his tally with a scintillating solo score from inside his own 22, drawing him level with Will Greenwood and Ben Cohen in second place on England’s all-time try-scorers list with 31, behind only Rory Underwood.

Skipper Farrell put the game to bed with two second-half penalties before Ireland had the day’s final say through Jacob Stockdale’s late try, and boss Jones was satisfied with England’s efforts, reserving particular praise for star man May.

“He’s right up there, and you consider that he’s 30 and he’s still improving every aspect of his game,” Jones said. “He’s such a dedicated trainer and he’s obsessed by getting better.

“He’s a great role model for all the players in the team. I remember watching him in the 2015 World Cup and at one stage he was going to end up in Row K, but now he’s a serious finisher.

“I was really pleased with the manner of the win and the togetherness of the team was very pleasing. The celebrations you saw are an indication of how the team wants to work for each other, and when that’s the case good things can happen.

“Playing Ireland is always tough – they’ve got a strong forward pack and so have we, so we knew it’d be a good battle. We had a good preparation for the game and at times we dominated in that area, but we also showed we’ve got more left in us.”

Victory in Wales next week would wrap up top spot for England in the group ahead of a placing match to determine their final position, but Jones isn’t expecting a warm welcome from their old rivals in Llanelli.

Wayne Pivac’s side ended a six-game losing run with 18-0 victory over Georgia, and Jones believes despite their previously disappointing form, the 2019 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam champions will be suitably fired up for the mouth-watering match-up.

The 60-year-old added: “They’ve struggled a bit recently, but we’re anticipating a different animal next Saturday, and we’ll need to make sure we’re fully prepared for them.

“We’re playing at a smaller ground, it’s unusual to play Test rugby in an arena like that, so it’ll be open to the elements a bit more, and we need to prepare for the game really well.

“There are a few things we can still tidy up, and we’ll work hard to continuously improve our defensive capabilities.

“The good thing is that everyone’s come through the Ireland game healthy. We’ll have a couple of days break now, and then we’ll get back at it ready for Wales.”


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