Itoje and May take plaudits as England power their way to another win over Ireland
- Credit: PA
A man of the match performance from Maro Itoje and two tries from Jonny May propelled England to a wonderful 18-7 win over Ireland in the Autumn Nations Cup.
The former Harpenden St George’s pupil, one of three in the 23-man squad, was a powerhouse in the middle of the pack, his work-rate and interventions all contributing.
And England head coach Eddie Jones was delighted with his team’s efforts on the tackling front, making 232 in comparison to Ireland’s 64 as they extended their supremacy over the Irish to four straight wins.
He said: “We controlled most of the game. We went in with certain things we wanted to take away from them and certain things we wanted to impose. For the best part of the game we did that.
“We got a little bit loose and a run of penalties in the second half but that just shows how much more we’ve got in us.
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“They’ve got a strong forward pack, we’ve got a strong forward pack. It’s a tough old game.”
But while Itoje, also one of two ex-Old Albanian players alongside Max Malins, was the winner of the man of the match prize, it was May who stole the headlines with his two scores.
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His first ended a five-test scoring drought but the second was a thing of beauty, the winger taking a pass 15 metres from his own line before a burst of pace and a kick ahead brought a sensational solo try.
It lifted him to joint second on the all-time England scorers list, level with World Cup winners Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood, and trailing only the brilliant Rory Underwood.
When asked where May ranks among the wings he has coached, Jones said: “Jonny’s right up there if you consider he’s 30 and is still improving every aspect of his game.
“He’s such a dedicated trainer and is obsessed about getting better. He’s a great role model for all the players in the teams.
“When you consider the player he was, I remember watching him in the 2015 World Cup and at one stage he was going to end up in Row K. Now he’s a serious finisher.”
Owen Farrell kicked the conversion to May’s second and then added two penalties and only a try eight minutes from time prevented a second successive clean sheet, following the 40-0 win over Georgia in game one of the tournament.