Jonny May insists he can get even quicker after playing ‘the best rugby I’ve ever played’ against South Africa
- Jonny May scored three tries in England’s 2-1 series defeat by South Africa
- May, 28, took his tally in England colours to 17 tries in 37 Tests
- The Leicester wing ran close to the speed of Usain Bolt in a training session
Jonny May drew comparisons with Usain Bolt last season, but England’s speed king reckons he can get even quicker.
The Leicester and England wing clocked a 40-metre sprint speed of 10.49 metres per second last November during an England training session: a time to rival that of the Jamaican sprint sensation.
May was one of England’s top performers during a challenging tour of South Africa in the summer, showcasing his pace in all three Tests which included a stunning finish for the match-winning try in the Cape Town finale.
Jonny May was at his blistering best despite England falling to a 2-1 defeat in South Africa
‘I was happy with how I played but what you see at the weekend is the product of a plan,’ May said. ‘I want to get smarter and faster and that’s the product of years of working.
‘You spend your whole career working. I feel that over time I’ve gradually been getting better and played the best rugby I’ve ever played out in South Africa and running fast as well.’
May, who has scored 17 tries in 37 appearances for his country, was part of England’s pre-season training camp last week and is set to play an integral role in the forthcoming autumn internationals with Tests against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia.
The 28-year-old spent two weeks working on his speed at the performance centre run by sprinter and Olympic champion Michael Johnson in Texas last month.
May trained at the facility after he suffered a cruciate ligament injury at the end of 2015 and returned to sharpen his sprinting ahead of the new season.
May celebrates after scoring in the third Test victory over the Springboks in Cape Town
There he met Olympic sprinter English Gardner who recovered from a serious knee injury to reach the 2016 Olympics and help the US women’s 4x100m relay team win gold in Rio.
‘It was awesome for me to meet her because when I did my knee two years ago, the surgeon said it was touch and go whether I’d come back at the same speed,’ he explained.
‘People say you lose five per cent (of your speed) after an ACL injury. I was trawling though the internet to find people who have had the same injury.
‘English Gardner blew her knee out just before she went to college. She had all her scholarships taken away and then within 13 months ran the record and now she’s one of the fastest women in the world. She definitely inspired me.’