Rugby World Cup
Jonny May: I've done all I can for England starting spot at World Cup
PA Sport
September 6, 2015

Jonny May is satisfied he has given everything in pursuit of starting England's World Cup opener against Fiji on September 18.

May bumped off Tommy Bowe for the first of the hosts' two tries in the 21-13 victory over Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday and leapt into the corner to touch down an acrobatic second only for a forward pass by Tom Youngs to rule out the score.

The 25-year-old troubled the Six Nations champions throughout and the player identified by Stuart Lancaster as the stand-out performer during the World Cup training camp was once again acclaimed by England's head coach for showing "real attacking intent".

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Anthony Watson's athletic finish for the second try has also advanced his claim for one of the two wing spots available against Fiji and, on Saturday's evidence, the West Country pair - who also excelled against France at Twickenham last month - will edge Jack Nowell in the race for selection.

May's turbulent international career appeared over after last summer's tour to New Zealand and, having been recalled for the autumn, he was jettisoned once again during the Six Nations only to re-emerge now as England's main strike weapon.

"I feel I've done all I can do. I'm happy with the way I'm playing at the moment and I'm still learning and improving," May said.

"These warm-up matches have given me an opportunity to put things right after getting dropped in the Six Nations and to show the improvements I've made and confidence I've gained.

"I knew things hadn't gone my way, I knew I was better than that, but it's international rugby and one bad game and you can be out. I had to go back and work as hard as I could and it's given me a hunger to get in there.

"I'm been very hard on myself, scrutinising and reflecting to see what I can improve on.

"That's a relentless desire to get better regardless of the circumstances. I'm as keen to improve next week as I would be if I'd had a bad game.

"It would be so exciting to start in the World Cup. I can't wait for the tournament to start and the buzz around the country."

England will open the home World Cup armed with seven successive victories at Twickenham including a confidence-enhancing rout of below-par Ireland, who at least know they do not need to peak until their Pool D decider against France on October 11.

In contrast, Lancaster's men must hit the ground running with Wales and Australia looming after Fiji and, despite failing to reflect their mastery of the Irish on the scoreboard, they were able to move on from their dire 25-20 defeat in Paris a fortnight ago.

"It was crucial to get the win. We came out with all guns blazing, with real intent, and that gave the crowd something to really get behind," May said.

"We haven't treated these matches like warm-up games - everyone has felt like a one-off international. If we were going into the World Cup on the back of two losses, it wouldn't be a good place to be."

Various members of England's camp have outlined their belief over the last week that winning the World Cup is a realistic aim, and May has added his voice to the chorus.

"There's a handful of great teams in the world and any one can beat any team on their day. We're in that top group and it will come down to what happens on the day," he said.

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