Jonny May ready for marathon season after using lockdown to refresh and recharge
England star Jonny May has left no stone unturned to make himself mentally and physically ready for a marathon season that could last 10 months.
Gloucester and England wing May had what he terms “a positive lockdown” as rugby union was put on hold from March until August due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Games have come thick and fast since the sport restarted, with Gloucester’s schedule being nine Gallagher Premiership games in 51 days.
There will be a short break next month, but England then embark on a six-match autumn schedule, the 2020-21 domestic and European campaigns start, followed by the Six Nations and next summer’s British and Irish Lions’ South Africa tour.
Should May, who has scored 29 tries in 56 Tests and stands fifth on England’s all-time list, gain Lions selection and play in the third Springboks Test, his campaign will end on August 7.
“It has been a really long few seasons, and the break came at a perfect time for me,” May told the PA news agency.
“It was about regenerating and refreshing, all the while knowing we would be paying for it later down the line in terms of games coming thick and fast, and there probably won’t be a break like that again.
“I used it as a chance to get my body right and freshen up my mind.
“During the break as well, I sorted out my contract to come back to Gloucester, which I was really pleased about. It was a positive lockdown for me.
“The way games are coming now, it is going to be challenging, but we have had five months off.
“Sitting at home watching Netflix, relaxing and doing my training in the garden, I knew what was coming, which was why I prepared as well as I could during those five months to make myself as fresh as possible.
“It’s all hands on deck, not just in rugby, but every industry.”
Only Rory Underwood, Ben Cohen, Will Greenwood and Jeremy Guscott have scored more England tries than 30-year-old May.
He has carved a reputation among world rugby’s deadliest finishers, making him among the first names on Eddie Jones’ England team-sheet.
“It’s hard to explain, but when you are so focused on the process – training each week, one game at a time – you don’t really pay attention to those sort of things (his England try-count),” added May, who was speaking following an announcement of a two-year deal between Gloucester Rugby and work-place and home solutions specialist BiGDUG.
“When I finish playing, I can reflect on them.
“Things like scoring tries are great, and being selected for the top teams is great, but there is only so much control you have within those things.
“You probably need the ball passed to you to score a try, or you need a coach to like you to be picked.
“So all you can focus on is yourself and trying to become better each day, and that is what I have prided myself on throughout my career.
“Of course, you have ambitions, and South Africa (Lions) would be incredible, but you go about that by just focusing on yourself and your own process.
“People are grateful to be playing rugby again. It’s not a case of what we haven’t got, it is just being grateful for what we do have.”
* Jonny May and Gloucester Rugby are proud to partner with workplace and home solutions specialist BiGDUG, who have just signed a two-year deal. www.bigdug.co.uk