June 24, 2018 / 6:27 AM / in 4 months

Jones picks May, Curry as stand-out performers in Bok series

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Coach Eddie Jones has picked wing Jonny May and young loose-forward Tom Curry as the stand-out performers on England’s tour of South Africa that ended with a consolation 25-10 victory at Newlands on Saturday.

Rugby Union - Third Test International - South Africa v England - Newlands Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa - June 23, 2018. England's Jonny May kicks past South Africa's Amphiwe Dyantyi. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The Springboks won the series 2-1, but were out-thought by England in wet and windy conditions in the final test to end the five-match losing streak that had put pressure on Jones a little over a year out from the World Cup.

May scored a late try in the corner after an excellent cross-field kick from flyhalf Danny Cipriani, his third of the series and a 17th in 37 tests.

“Jonny May has been outstanding all tour, he’s been incredible. He scored three tries and was involved in at least two or three others,” Jones said.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Second Test International - South Africa v England - Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa - June 16, 2018. England head coach Eddie Jones looks on. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The coach was also pleased with the development of Curry, who was given a baptism of fire against a muscular Bok pack.

“Young Tom Curry, he has played three test matches on the hop against probably the biggest and most physical pack in the world,” Jones said.

“He has probably played more test matches than he has Premiership rugby, so he has got a lot of potential that boy.”

Jones also had a word of praise for returning flanker Chris Robshaw, who was dropped for the second test defeat in Bloemfontein, but was forced back into the side by illness to New Zealand-born loose-forward Brad Shields.

“I was glad to see Robshaw play so well today, he had been out of form and I thought he bounced back and showed real leadership,” Jones added.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - England Training - Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Britain - November 9, 2017 England's Tom Curry during training Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

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Jones said he thought the series was a good advert for international rugby and after a narrow 42-39 loss in Johannesburg, when the tourists led 24-3 after 17 minutes, said it was well contested.

“I thought it was a great series of rugby,” he said. “For the health of test rugby it was fantastic.

“You have a rejuvenated South African side that are well coached, have a good balance of players against a young England side looking to find their way.

“South Africa were too good in the first two tests and deserved to win the series, but there were only small margins in it.”

England will face the Springboks at Twickenham on Nov. 3, followed by matches against world champions New Zealand, Japan and Australia.

Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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