Jonny May is determined to sign off his England career in a blaze of glory after revealing the World Cup would conclude his time on the world stage.
The nation’s second highest try-scorer behind Rory Underwood was overlooked for Steve Borthwick’s original squad for France 2023 but was granted a reprieve when Anthony Watson sustained a calf injury in August.
Seizing his opportunity, the electric wing is ready to make his third start of the group phase against Samoa on Saturday and will enter the Lille showdown armed with the conviction that he remains a threat against any opposition.
“This will definitely be my last World Cup and most likely my last time playing for England. Never say never, but probably,” May said.
“I’m incredibly grateful to be here and I told Steve in January that I’m all in, I’m all in. That’s the sort of guy I am.
“I certainly don’t want to play to a point where I can’t be delivering or performing to a standard that I’m happy with. I want to rip in and give everything I can for this last period of time.
“I still feel I’m pushing on my best and I can contribute and the full package that I can bring is as good as anyone – on my day. That’s what motivates me to still be here.
“But I’m definitely on bonus time. I’ve played for England in every year for 11 calendar years now. I never thought that would be possible for me.
“So this is bonus time but serious time as well because we’ve got an opportunity to win a World Cup and I want to do my team-mates, my family and my country proud.”
Their presence in the easier half of the draw means that they could reach the last four without having faced one of the sport’s heavyweights – Fiji are their probably next opponents – to give May the opportunity to fulfil his dream of finishing on a high.
“A big goal of mine was the 2021 Lions tour. That didn’t work out for me and that was a bit tough. I’m at peace with that now,” the Gloucester back said.
“The pros to being in the situation I am now is I know the player I am, I don’t feel I’ve got as much to prove any more.
“I won’t get as bent out of shape about certain things, I’ve just got to do the best I can, keep my head down and the limelight isn’t on me as much. I prefer that – I can just go about my business.
“But there is also that pressure that it’s my last time and God, I want to do as well as I possibly can. You wouldn’t want to go out on a note you’re unhappy with.”