Eddie Jones hails ‘role model’ Jonny May for inspiring England past Ireland with stunning try double

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Eddie Jones hailed double-try scorer Jonny May as a “role model” for any player on the international stage after the wing powered England to an 18-7 victory over Ireland.

The victory puts England on the verge of qualifying for the Autumn Nations Cup final in a fortnight’s time, although they will need to ensure there are no surprises in store when they face an out-of-form Wales side next weekend in Llanelli.

But on this evidence, England will be worth their billing as pre-tournament favourites after dominating an Ireland side that came up short in every department at Twickenham, with May’s double and eight points from the boot of Owen Farrell enough to seal a deserved victory despite Jacob Stockdale’s 74th-minute consolation.

May put England in front in the 16th minute as he plucked Farrell’s crossfield kick out of the hands of Hugo Keenan, before adding his second inside four minutes later in sublime fashion. England turned over an Irish lineout deep inside their 22, and centres Ollie Lawrence and Henry Slade sent May on his way, with the Gloucester wing beating Chris Farrell and Bundee Aki before chipping ahead and beating Jamison Gibson-Park for pace to touch down his 31st international try in 58 Tests.

“Jonny is right up there if you consider he's 30 and is still improving every aspect of his game,” Jones said afterwards.

“He's such a dedicated trainer and is obsessed about getting better. He's a great role model for all the players in all teams. When you consider the player he was, 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.”

May’s double took him level with World Cup winners Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood as England’s second-highest try-scorers, with Rory Underwood’s all-time record the last to conquer with his leading tally of 49.

May’s second try saw him score from his own 22


But while May’s attacking brilliance shone through, it was England’s dominant defensive effort that paved the way to a fourth consecutive victory over Ireland in the space of 21 months. England made a stunning 238 tackles during the 80 minutes with only nine efforts missed, compared to Ireland’s 11 missed tackles out of just 72 completed, such was the workrate that the home side got through without the ball.

“We controlled most of the game,” Jones added. “We went in with certain things we wanted to take away from them and certain things we wanted to impose. For the best part of the game we did that.

“We got a little bit loose and a run of penalties in the second-half but that just shows how much more we've got in us.

“England vs Ireland games are always tough games. They've got a strong forward pack, we've got a strong forward pack. It's a tough old game. At times we dominated physically and we've got a bit more to go there.

“There’s a few things we can still tidy up, we allowed them in the second half to poke their heads through a few times when we had a good hit and we didn’t go through with it. But we work hard on that area of the game and we know it’s important, and we can keep improving in our defensive capabilities.”

The victory comes off the bonus-point win over Georgia last weekend and puts England on the verge of qualifying for the Autumn Nations Cup final against either France or Scotland, although a bonus-point defeat against Wales next weekend could yet stop Jones’s side from topping Group A.

Wales go into the game as large underdogs despite hosting England on home soil at Parc y Scarlets, given they went into Saturday’s game against Georgia off the back of six straight defeats under new head coach Wayne Pivac, but Jones expects a typical feisty affair across the Severn regardless of the form being shown.

“They’re always different against us,” he said. “That’s the game they wrote a song about in 2000 about how the only game that counts is beating England, so we’re anticipating a different animal next Saturday and we’ll need to prepare well to be right for them.”

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