JONNY MAY was just a toddler when he first thought about playing for England at Twickenham and he is tantalisingly close to fulfilling that dream.
May, the former Royal Wootton Bassett youth team player and now Gloucester Rugby star, looks set to run out for the national side when they take on Ireland – recent 26-3 conquerors of Wales – in the next round of Six Nations matches on Saturday.
May has already had an eventful tournament; having forced his way back into the side for only his second cap against the French in Paris, he had to leave the field after just eight minutes with a broken nose.
And he failed to see out the full 80 minutes of the Calcutta Cup against Scotland, the gluepot conditions at Murrayfield hampering the flying wing and forcing him off in the final minutes with cramp.
“It was really difficult running on the Murrayfield pitch even though I put much longer studs in my boots,” he said.
“I found it was like moving on quicksand and my calves kept cramping after about 55 minutes. I couldn’t really sprint.”
Nonetheless, May had already played his part in England’s 20-0 victory with some scintillating wing play.
It appears he has now usurped Chris Ashton for the No.14 jersey and it will be a major surprise if May fails to continue his run in the side.
He will certainly find the Twickenham pitch much more conducive to his game, which is rich in attacking flair.
As for running out at Twickenham, May said: “I’ve played there a few times before, for Hartpury College, the Gloucestershire county side, in sevens and most recently in the Barbarians game before the Argentina tour,” said the 23-year-old May.
“Each time walking down the tunnel I’ve thought I would love to be doing this in a real Test match in front of a home crowd. It’s going to be crazy. I don’t tend to think about what I can’t control – selection, other players, how people are playing.
“The main thing is to improve what I do and play my best. I’ve been waiting to do this since the age of five and over the last three years I feel I’ve been knocking on the door.”