Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 October 2019

Rugby World Cup 2019: Jonny May happy to put red-hot scoring form on back-burner for England victories

Winger has scored 24 tries in 47 Tests, including six in seven games this year

England winger Jonny May is willing to have zero in the tries column next to his name if it gets his team closer to a second Rugby World Cup triumph.

May has scored 24 tries in 47 Tests, including six in seven games this year to emerge as a contender to lead the scoring charts but the 29-year-old said it would be perilous to focus only on five-pointers.

"For a winger, a try is the cherry on top of the cake. I couldn't care less if I don't score a try in the tournament ... we just need to win every game," May said.

"It's a terrible trap to fall into, going into a game wanting to score a try ... I go into a game focusing on my defence, my kick-chase, my high ball.

"Those are the things I'm guaranteed to get in a game. If the opportunity comes to score a try, that's my role in that moment ... but to go into games thinking about wanting to do that? That is not how Test match rugby works."

England, the 2003 champions, face Tonga in their Pool C opener on Sunday before games against the United States, Argentina and France.

Tonga were smashed 92-7 by the All Blacks in a recent warm-up in Hamilton, New Zealand.

However, lock Maro Itoje said England could ill-afford to underestimate the physical challenge posed by the Pacific islanders, pointing to his teammates Mako and Billy Vunipola, who have Tongan roots.

"I've seen what those two have done to people. It can be dangerous if you allow it to be," Itoje said.

"We know how physical they are and how much Tonga, as a country, loves rugby. They'll definitely be up for it."

Updated: September 17, 2019 06:39 PM

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