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England wing Jonny May breaks silence over much-debated Lions snub


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England star Jonny May has reflected on the huge disappointment of being overlooked for this summer’s British and Irish Lions tour, the 31-year-old Gloucester winger adding that any chance of becoming a Lion has now realistically passed him by. It will be 2025 before the Lions reconvene, with a tour to Australia awaiting them, and May feels he could not have done any more during the four-year Lions cycle between New Zealand 2017 and South Africa in July and August.


Only Rory Underwood has scored more tries for England, with May having amassed 33 in 66 Tests, while 25 of those scores came in 41 games between the last two Lions tours. “I will be honest, it was a huge disappointment,” May said. “It was a big goal of mine.

“I worked incredibly hard over a four-year cycle to become the best player I could be and give myself every chance of going, but you just can’t control selection. I look back to that four-year cycle, the work I put in and the way I played, I didn’t really feel like I could have done any more.

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“You just have to accept it. It is something I wanted to do – it is not something I am going to be able to do. It’s in the past now. It’s part of playing a team game. For anybody who plays rugby, there are certain things that you will face in your career that are going to be disappointing.

“Probably the two hardest things to deal with are not getting picked and getting injured, but the game we play, those things are going to happen to you at some point. You have just got to get back up and keep going with it, really.”

May missed out behind England colleague Anthony Watson, Scotland international Duhan van der Merwe, Wales’ Josh Adams and his Gloucester teammate Louis Rees-Zammit when it came to head coach Warren Gatland’s Lions wing choices. Although 20-year-old Rees-Zammit did not feature in the Test series, he scored tries against South African opponents the Lions, Sharks and Stormers as he built impressively on a title-winning Six Nations campaign with Wales. “What a season he had,” May added.


“To be fair to Louis, in terms of what I see with where he is at, he is one of the most naturally talented players I have ever come across. He is as fast as anybody I have seen and he is natural on the ball as well. It all just comes very easily to him. Really, in terms of what’s in store for his career, the world is at his feet. I am confident he is going to go on to achieve great things.”


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