September 17, 2019 / 3:53 AM / a month ago

Rugby - May happy to put red-hot scoring form on back-burner for wins

(Reuters) - 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 World Cup triumph in Japan.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - England Training - Clifton College Sports Ground, Bristol, Britain - August 16, 2019 England's Jonny May during training Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs/File Photo

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 told British media in Japan.

“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 champion All Blacks in a recent warmup 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 team mates 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 love rugby. They’ll definitely be up for it.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Ransom

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