Gloucester Rugby: Jonny May keen on taking flight as a wing specialist
ONCE Jonny May was the Jack of all backline trades – but now he is ready to be master of one.
The versatile Gloucester flier is determined to become an expert in wing play, now Nigel Davies has backed him to specialise in that role.
The 22-year-old has operated impressively in every Cherry and Whites role from inside centre out.
But the Swindon-born speed king wants to settle on the wing – and he admitted that opportunity has helped keep him at Kingsholm.
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May signed a new two-year contract in December, to stay at Gloucester until 2015.
He had his pick of the Premiership's traditional powers, but chose instead to stay at his home club.
Now he is keen to learn the ways of the wing, to go from strength to strength.
May explained: "I've played a lot of positions at Gloucester in the last few years, but really the advice I've been getting now, speaking to Nigel and others, is to focus on that wing position now.
"It's tough competition out there on the wing, but I think it's the position that will suit my game the most – and it's a position I haven't even really played that much at all really.
"So it's going to be a good few weeks getting into that new challenge.
"There's a lot to learn still, but hopefully I can really settle in to playing regularly in that position, specialising and taking my game as far as I can.
"I'm pleased to have made that decision, to focus right in on one position.
"Positioning, decision-making, all these things only come with experience in the role, and I'm really looking forward to getting that now."
Last term May mostly deputised for long-term injury absentee Olly Morgan at full-back, and he is glad of the experience.
He has also thrived in both centre roles, but he confirmed he now views himself as a winger.
He continued: "The pressure's off having to cover all over the place.
"In the long-run that will have done my game a lot of good; gaining understanding and appreciation of other positions.
"But I think at some point everyone's got to settle down into one role, say 'that's the shirt I want to go for'.
"And I'm happy to focus for the wing now really.
"It's not as though I won't play other positions – wherever I am needed to play, I will do it of course.
"But it's clear in his and my head now, that's the position they want me to play, and it's the one I want to play too.
"I think it can definitely help with international ambitions too.
"England see me as a winger as well, maybe it could do me a bit of good but I'll just focus on Gloucester at the moment."
Niggling knee ligament trouble dominated the first half of May's season.
But after a successful return in Friday's 31-26 Bordeaux victory – for just his fifth appearance of the campaign – he is now targeting a quick return to top form.
Buoyed by his new contract, he continued: "I wanted to get the contract sorted while I was injured just to focus on the job week on week without any distractions.
"I'm delighted with the group of young players we have and the way we've been performing this year, and it was an easy choice to make to stay.
"It's got to that stage where it's good for the knee to get out and play again.
"I was happy on reflection to get through the 70 minutes out there without hurting it.
"And the way forward now is just to keep getting out on the pitch and it should improve week on week.
"It's one of those injuries that isn't horrendous but will last a while, it still niggles from time to time.
"That's difficult for me because I haven't had that before, so for the first time I was more worried about how my body would hold up than performance out in France last week.
"That was a different experience but a good one to come through.
"My legs were shattered in the second-half, but we got the result and that's the main thing.
"It will just take a few weeks now to get match fit.
"So on reflection it was a good first go for me.
"I'm training fully now, it's hard work back to it and back to the normal routine.
"But it's as much a confidence thing now as anything else, getting used to that feeling different – but also knowing that doesn't stop you from doing anything, as long as your mind doesn't stop you.
"The more I do the happier I'll feel with it and hopefully the better I'll play."