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Jonny May poised to officially name his new French club – report

By Liam Heagney
Former England winger Jonny May is off to the French Pro D2 (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Former England winger Jonny May will be unveiled on Tuesday evening as a new player at Soyaux-Angouleme, according to media reports in France. It was June 1 when RugbyPass reported that the Pro D2 club were interested in the 34-year-old who retired from Test rugby following’s England’s bronze medal finish at the Rugby World Cup last October.

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May reached the end of the 2023/24 season out of contract at Gloucester and was told he could move on from Kingsholm. It was at the start of this month when he was originally linked with a switch to the Pro D2, the league where his fellow England retiree Courtney Lawes will be plying his trade next season with Brive.

That speculation has now been increased following a social media message posted on X by Soyaux-Angouleme. It read: “Men lie, but numbers don’t! 13, 36, 47, 78.” It also added that an announcement was due at 6pm French time.

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A report on rugbyrama.fr, the French rugby website, read: “English winger Jonny May will join Soyaux-Angouleme. The officialisation will take place this evening at 6pm. It’s a real bomb that will hit the second division of French rugby.

“While the rumour has been circulating for several weeks and has accelerated in recent days , they club will offer themselves a notable recruit in the person of the Gloucester player. This Tuesday morning, while we announced a clear acceleration of things, the club’s communication commented with a brief tweet revealing big clues about the arrival of the English star.

“Men lie, but numbers don’t! 13, 36, 47, 78. 78 corresponds to the number of selections with the England XV and 36 to the tries he scored in the white jersey; 47 is his number of European matches and 13 the number of World Cup caps. Those numbers clearly give the trend of the announcement scheduled for 6pm.

“With this choice recruitment, the SA XV enters a higher dimension and can aspire to higher ambitions than in previous seasons. First of all, in terms of image, the arrival of the second best try scorer in the history of England will have a significant media resonance and consequently in terms of the level of enthusiasm around the club.

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“It’s one more transfer (after Courtney Lawes to Brive) which illustrates the obvious progression of the ante-chamber of the Top 14. Sportingly, and even if he is heading towards the twilight of his career, May remains an outstanding and classy finisher.

“He has scored five tries in 15 matches for Gloucester this season. As a reminder, he retired from international rugby after the 2023 World Cup where he started in the semi-final against South Africa.”

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