Jonny May’s exultant celebration of his match-winning try for Leicester against the Exeter Chiefs on Saturday shows how much the England wing is desperate to win over his new fans at Welford Road – and to convince the national team’s head coach Eddie Jones to recall him in the autumn into the bargain.
But the former Gloucester flyer, who was an 11th-hour pre-season signing by the Tigers, admits the process of joining the likes of Martin Johnson and Neil Back as a Leicester Hall-of-Famer will take time.
May described scoring a fifth try in five matches since his summer transfer as just “doing his job”, while he praised his new Leicester club-mates as “world-class players who want to get better” and “more ambitious” than those he left behind at Kingsholm.
Certainly, May’s finishing prowess is in great nick after his switch from Cherry-and-White to green, red and white, and while the man himself said it was all in a day’s work, the 67th-minute score in Leicester’s 20-13 wet-weather win over the reigning champions came from a bracket higher than the run-of-the-mill.
Leicester were leading by three points when Exeter’s full-back Phil Dollman spilled a high ball forwards, and referee Tom Foley stuck out his arm to indicate a free-kick. Scrum-half Ben Youngs spurned the stoppage however, and crabbed right to left, seeking space near the Exeter 22.
Youngs could have used Dan Cole, Matt Toomua or Brendon O’Connor to carry on the attack but instead the England No.9 spotted the narrowness of Exeter’s defensive cover and he flung out a superb long, flat pass. May did the rest, charging onto the ball and taking a slight sidestep infield as he shrugged off the attempted tackles of Olly Woodburn and Will Chudley, and slid across the rain-dampened turf before a fist-pumping reaction in front of the Mattioli Woods Stand.
“I tell those boys, if you want to put the ball in the space, I’ll run on to it,” said May. “We can go…