Branded by the some the ‘world deadliest’ winger, May found himself on the receiving end of a head collision against Wales which saw him needing a Head Injury Assessment (HIA).
May is available to face Italy after passing the return to play protocols for concussion having taken a blow to the head at the Principality Stadium, although he would have been able to make an immediate return to play had he not tried to game the test.
“I failed the HIA so I stayed off. I got the words wrong. It’s funny – all the HIAs I’ve done in the past have a list of words like candle, paper, sugar, wagon, finger, lemon.
“I think I was reeling off words from previous tests that I’d remembered to try and get out there quickly.
“He was looking at me a bit funny. I think I was miles off. It was more my mistake.”
Eddie Jones’ team selection – described by Conor O’Shea as “full metal jacket” – points to a direct approach of using brute force to batter Italy, but May insists they must adapt quickly if the bludgeon proves ineffective.
Two years ago Azzurri coach O’Shea used his no-ruck tactics to outscheme England and the controversial game plan that resulted in a law change still rankles with Jones.
May admits the confusion it caused in English ranks was not the nation’s finest hour but, apart from the second half against Wales in round three, he sees evidence that on-field adjustments can be made when needed.
“Look back to 2017 when Italy did the ruck thing – we didn’t adapt very well then. But this group has matured and learned,” May said.
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