England winger Jonny May is the epitome of a Covid-19 silver lining. Had the pandemic not struck, the fractured cheekbone suffered against Wales last March would have ruled him out of the final round Six Nations clash versus Italy.

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Seven months on, the 30-year-old is champing at the bit and back into the swing of England things after attending this week’s three-day cap at the Lensbury, the gathering that marked the start of the countdown to a six-match programme that includes the October 31 trip to Rome he would have missed it the Six Nations was completed as scheduled. 

Not only is May back fit on the international scene and looking to add to his 56-cap England tally, but he also switched clubs during the lay-off, returning to Gloucester and enjoying six recent starts after three unfulfilled years at Leicester. Life’s good then? You bet.

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“I have been able to stay positive,” he said, reflecting on the unprecedented rugby stoppage. “The lockdown actually came at a good time for me. If I was to pick a stage of my career where I could do with a bit of break from the game then that was it. 

“It was a chance to reset both physically and mentally. I fractured my cheek anyway so I was out for eight weeks and I hadn’t sorted out my contract, so I didn’t know where my future was. 

“To have the opportunity to just take a pause and reflect, refresh and reset came at a brilliant time for me so I turned that into a positive. I knew in that time that things would start again at some point and when it does it’s going to be pretty crazy in terms of the intensity and amount of rugby we’re going to have to play. 

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“So I just made sure every day that I was doing everything I could to make sure that when we get going again I’m as fresh and resilient and ready as I possibly can be and I’ve got that energy where I really want to play all the time. That’s how I feeling at the moment. 

“I certainly made the most of it and I was also lucky in that nobody in my family got ill or any friends. I had a garden, I could exercise, I could still live my life and have my routine. The routine is very important to me. That suits me perfectly, I can control my environment and do my training and get lost in my process, so I managed to deal with it in a good way I guess.”

The only bump in the comeback road was the cancellation of Gloucester last match of the restarted 2019/20 Premiership, Northampton getting caught up in the Sale Covid-19 outbreak and forfeiting last Sunday’s trip to Kingsholm.

“We prepared to play up until we finished team run on Saturday. We put a lot of hard work in, prepared as well as we could and when the news came, I was gutted. It was a real shame. 

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“You put a whole week’s work in. For it to be called off it was a shame but it is what it is. It was gutting. I wanted to play. It’s a shame we couldn’t finish the season. The prep was lost but it wasn’t wasted because ultimately you train to get better and we made some progress last week.”

 

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