England’s Mike Brown encourages ‘character’ Jonny May to continue scoring habit
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 29/11/16 10:45pm
Jonny May's scrummaging days may be over but Mike Brown insists England's wing can continue vanishing for toilet breaks during training if he keeps scoring.
May's comical attempts to bind on to a scrum against Argentina is the latest quirky incident to have entertained his team-mates, while Eddie Jones has said of the Gloucester back: "I'd love to spend one day inside his head, it would be absolutely fascinating".
Brown knows that for all the eccentricities of the squad's fastest player, he remains a deadly finisher who has crossed twice in two appearances this autumn and is set to start against Australia at Twickenham in Saturday's climax to the series, live on Sky Sports 2 HD.
"Jonny seems to disappear from training every now and then to go to the toilet," Brown said. "Eddie turns around and goes 'where has Jonny gone?' And Jonny just trots back in like nothing's going on. So Eddie's like 'what the hell are you doing?'.
"He's like...what's the best way to describe it...he's like a puppy! He's really enthusiastic, bounding around desperate to show his energy and go to the toilet. He has so much energy and enthusiasm, so we have to keep him on a tight leash sometimes. And give him direction - well that's what I end up doing anyway.
"But he's a brilliant player. With ball in hand he can finish tries that others can't. He's electric running-wise. He also listens, which is a good thing. I don't think he knows what's going on half the time, so who knows what's going on in his head? He's an interesting character, one that I'll probably never experience again.
"It's great that you play in a sport with so many different characters, like Jonny. He can be frustrating at times, but he's a good bloke to have around."
Fourteen-man England needed May to join a scrum as an openside flanker in the final quarter of Saturday's 27-14 win over Argentina.
Instead of taking his place in the back row, however, he placed his head between Mako Vunipola's legs and then grabbed the loosehead prop's knee and shin in his search for stability.
"Jonny's days as a flanker are definitely numbered! He couldn't have watched much rugby or scrums in a rugby game to bind the way he was binding. That's just Jonny." he said. "Interesting technique, I don't think it'll be one that they'll be using going forward, but it made us laugh.
"I want to know who actually put him on in the scrum in the first place because he'd be the last person I'd put there. That's who needs to answer some questions."
May's scrummaging technique has entertained the squad and scrum-half Ben Youngs just wants the 26-year-old to keep things simple.
"Unbelievable isn't it? What's he doing? It's madness! He needs to get on the scrum machine. Poor old Mako. Jonny's taken a bit of heat," Youngs said.
"Scrummaging's not his forte, but give him the ball on the edge of the pitch and he'll finish for you. If he keeps doing that, I'm sure the front-row will forgive him.
"Jonny's such a gifted athlete in terms of his speed. The ground he can cover in such a short space of time is incredible. You just don't want him to overthink things too much - just give him the ball and let him do his thing. Get the ball, mate, and run."