Half-cen­tury up for May, six years af­ter first sober cap

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby World Cup - By Gavin Mairs RUGBY NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Jonny May has re­vealed that only by miss­ing a drink­ing ses­sion to have din­ner with his par­ents did he make his Eng­land de­but.

The wing will win his 50th cap in the World Cup quar­ter-fi­nal against Aus­tralia on Satur­day, but his first came about in bizarre cir­cum­stances.

Hav­ing not been se­lected by former head coach Stuart Lan­caster on Eng­land’s tour to Ar­gentina in 2013, May had given up hope.

On the morn­ing of the third Test, how­ever, Chris­tian Wade was called up for the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions tour of Aus­tralia as an in­jury re­place­ment and hav­ing been the only one of the ini­tial non-23 play­ers to miss a team night out the pre­vi­ous evening May was called up, partly on ac­count of his so­bri­ety.

“It didn’t re­ally go how I’d have thought,” the 29-year-old May re­called. “We picked 14 backs or some­thing in the squad and I was look­ing around, it was Lions year and I thought ‘I’m prob­a­bly go­ing to get a game’. So my mum and dad came out and I wasn’t picked for the first, then I wasn’t picked for the se­cond game and – I didn’t feel ashamed – but I didn’t feel great be­cause it looked like I wasn’t go­ing to get a game.

“But then Chris­tian got called up for the Lions on the morn­ing of the game and, ba­si­cally be­cause my mum and dad were out, I went out for din­ner with them and all the other non-23 play­ers went out on the p---, so I got the ‘go on, you can play’ pretty much!”

May said he still gets the same thrill ahead of play­ing for Eng­land.

“Ev­ery time it’s been an hon­our, to do it 50 times is a great achieve­ment,” May said. “I’ve had in­juries, I’ve been picked, I’ve not been picked, I’ve had ter­ri­ble games and good times as well.

“I’ve got goose­bumps be­cause I’m so ex­cited to go out there this week­end and try to raise the bar.”

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