I will come back from South Africa as a better player says May
JONNY May admits his England call to South Africa has not yet sunk in – but he is determined to return to Kingsholm a better player for the new Gloucester campaign.
The 22-year-old Cherry and Whites flyer landed in South Africa on Saturday morning, to replace injured Harlequins wing George Lowe.
Swindon-born May watched England's first test on television – but found himself in the stands of Johannesburg's Ellis Park for Saturday's thrilling second encounter with the Springboks.
May joined Gloucester team mate Rupert Harden among the onlookers of the England tourists inside the famous Springbok fortress, to witness first-hand an impressive comeback by Stuart Lancaster's men.
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England lost out 36-27 but conceded three first-half tries to turn around 25-10 in arrears.
Two Ben Youngs tries and a mammoth all-round effort dragged England back into the mix, before JP Pietersen ended the argument and sealed South Africa's test series victory.
All a far cry from gearing up for Gloucester's pre-season for May, who goes straight into contention for tomorrow's midweek clash against the South African Northern Barbarians.
May's breakthrough Gloucester season started with the young speed merchant battling for first XV chances at Kingsholm.
But a string of stunning tries and increasingly accomplished displays then led to a prolonged stint in a totally new position of full-back, after Olly Morgan's knee injury ended his season in January.
The England Saxons call then followed, and May admits he would have been absolutely delighted to end his campaign with that accolade.
This full England call has come as a surprise then – but now he has his chance, he does not intend to waste it.
He explained: "It's all happened really quickly and come as a bit of a shock.
"When I didn't make the touring squad, I was told that I'd be on standby but you don't actually expect to get the call.
"It's tough on Mike Brown and George Lowe. Getting injured is tough at any time and I know they'll be devastated at being forced out of the tour.
"They're good guys and great players and they'll bounce back.
"I'd been recharging my batteries, getting away from rugby a little bit and just preparing myself to report back for preseason training with Gloucester.
"Then I got the telephone call and now I'm in South Africa.
"It's all a bit surreal. I watched last week's Test on the television and ended up watching Saturday's game in the stadium in Johannesburg.
"I had a chat with Stuart Lancaster on Friday night and he told me I'd probably see some action in the midweek game."
Reflecting on one seriously upwardly-mobile campaign, May said he is determined to grasp every opportunity that comes his way during his short South Africa stint.
England will complete their first-ever three-Test series in South Africa on Saturday, and will be looking for a victory to stave off a whitewash.
For May though, the main focus will be trying to impress in time to take the field in tomorrow's clash with the Northern Barbarians.
He added: "It's been an amazing season really.
"Playing for Gloucester regularly, then being involved with the Saxons and now this.
"It doesn't take away the disappointment of how the season finished for Gloucester but, what I'll try to do is make the most of this experience and become a better player for it."