Gloucester Rugby: Set-piece strike is just the start says magic May
TWO-TRY Jonny May reckons Gloucester are finally ready to carve teams apart from set-piece ball.
The 22-year-old speed merchant hopes his try brace in Saturday's 27-11 Premiership victory at Northampton can kick-start a run of top form – both personal and collective.
May picked the perfect line through Saints' midfield for Gloucester's first try, leaving both George and Ken Pisi for dead.
The former Hartpury College man admitted he could not recall the last time Gloucester ran in a try clean off first-phase ball.
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Hailing Gloucester's pack for providing the quick-ball platform from a perfect lineout, May backed the Cherry and Whites to start opening teams up on a regular basis.
May explained: "We knew where they would be worried about us coming in.
"I just held George Pisi for a second, he turned his back, and he was struggling from thereon in really.
"It was a good strike all-round, and we're pleased as a team because we haven't scored from a set move in a long time.
"And it all comes down to that back lineout ball, the good work the forwards put in, and the sharp lines everyone ran in the backline.
"But it's all credit to the pack, getting that quick set-piece ball we haven't been able to generate all year.
"So it's credit to them for getting us on the front foot.
"It all works from the back lineout ball.
"If we can concentrate on getting a bit more of that then we can strike like we used to – strike to score."
When May made his big comeback against Bordeaux Begles on January 11, he had one chance to shred the defence – and admitted he was not quite sharp enough to take advantage.
There was no such hesitancy for his second score on Saturday, racing in from halfway.
May now has five tries in the last three Premiership clashes at Franklin's Gardens, and admitted he enjoys playing at the East Midlands ground.
He continued: "Four or five weeks ago I must have picked up exactly the same ball against Bordeaux Begles, and I almost didn't know what to do with it.
"But I've definitely got my confidence back.
"I'm getting some good times on my speed over ten yards now in training again, and all that's paying off.
"My confidence is coming back, the knee is fine.
"And now I can keep pushing forward and start making quick progress.
"There's no hesitance there and I can just get back to what I'm used to doing.
"I feel good, I feel quick and fit.
"And now I want to contribute to the season as much as I can.
"There's still a lot of rugby to play, and I want to make an impression on that.
"It was great to get on the score sheet again – and the funny thing is, that other than the second try on Saturday, they have all come at the same end."
Niggling knee ligament trouble robbed May of nearly three months of the season, between September and January.
May believes Saturday's comprehensive victory – where Rob Cook landed 17 points with the boot – represents a return to prime sharpness.
But he also hopes it represents a return to total mental sharpness for Gloucester as a whole.
May believes Gloucester's brutal focus shut out the talented Saints completely – and has called on the Cherry and Whites to produce that as standard now.
He went on: "Our concentration was the main thing.
"We never looked like letting that lead slip once we were ahead.
"Last year we would build leads and then lose them. They could have easily got back in that game.
"So the focus that we maintained throughout was fantastic – and crucial to the result."
May believes Northampton victory offers the fastest-possible way to get over last weekend's 32-5 Bath humiliation.
Calling on Nigel Davies' men to carry that form forward into their Wasps clash at Adams Park on Sunday (kick-of 1pm), May is confident Gloucester are primed to cement their Premiership resurgence.
He added: "We've got Ryan Mills at ten, he's been out for a long time, and what a massive game that was for him.
"So I'm really pleased for him there.
"This was the game that mattered the most if you look clinically – and we've put our marker down now.
"Obviously the way we lost that Bath game was awful, but hopefully this is the first step towards making up for that."
â Nigel Davies hopes All Black scrum-half Jimmy Cowan's knee injury will not prove serious.
The 30-year-old half-back turned his knee after slipping on the Franklin's Gardens pitch on Saturday's 27-11
Cowan left Franklin's Gardens on crutches, but only as a precaution.
Davies explained: "Jimmy's knee didn't look great at the time, but he was quite upbeat in the changing rooms afterwards."