All Blacks star Beauden Barrett is benefiting from Eddie Jones’ surprise appearance as a consultant for Suntory Goliath amid the England coach’s own woes.
England coach Eddie Jones felt Jonny May’s “absolutely brilliant” up-and-over try in the Italy win brought to mind great NRL finishes he’d seen in Australia.
May received the ball on the left touchline in the final play of the first half at Twickenham on Saturday but his route to the line was seemingly blocked by hefty Italy winger Luca Sperandio.
It proved no barrier for May, however, who launched into a dive up and above his opponent and managed to touch the ball down.
It was just the sort of acrobatic leap that wouldn’t have looked out of place in last week’s Super Bowl but Jones felt it was particularly reminiscent of what he’d seen many times before in his native Australia.
“He’s obviously been watching rugby league,” he said. “It’s traditionally a way of scoring, a smart way, in the NRL – absolutely brilliant,” said Jones.
“I think he’s looked at videos, but he’s such a great try scorer.”
The try took May’s international tally to 32, clear in second place behind 49-try Rory Underwood in England’s all-time try-scoring ranks.
Fellow winger Anthony Watson also had a good day as he ended an 11-month drought with a score in each half.
Overall, Jones was pleased with his side’s display against an inexperienced Italian side who stood up strongly and even had the temerity to open the scoring with a second-minute try by Monty Ioane, the nephew of Australian international Digby Ioane.
“We were a bit slow into the game, but I think it ended up being a good thing for us,” Jones said of the nicely-created score.
“When you’re playing a team you are supposed to win against it sharpens you up a bit. I wasn’t too perturbed.
“Last week we gave the players too much information, wrong information, and it takes away a bit of energy. This week we were much more concise and had a week full of good clarity and the players played with good energy.”
England travel to Wales in their next game and will hope they can emulate last season’s achievement of recovering from a first-round defeat to go on and win the title.