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Jonny May: ‘I’m not the sort of guy to jump ship, it’s purely a rugby decision’

first_imgHe is not comfortable being portrayed as rugby’s answer to Jean-Marc Bosman after exploiting a contractual loophole to leave Kingsholm a year early and while the nickname “Maymar” – given to him by Danny Care in reference to Paris Saint-Germain’s new £200m signing – is easier to laugh off, he is at pains to point out it is not financially motivated.“Of course it is a big deal,” he says. “I don’t know what people are thinking but I’m not the sort of guy to jump ship or chase this or that, it’s purely where I am in my life and it’s purely a rugby decision. There is a lot I’m leaving at Gloucester which is sad but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make to take my game on.”To say that the penny has finally dropped for May is perhaps too harsh – he slips easily into the role of class clown, especially with England where he has been known to sneak out of team meetings to use the bathroom with slapstick timing – but there has always been a determined streak to him. He is 27 and watched fellow England wings Anthony Watson, Jack Nowell and Elliot Daly tour with the Lions this summer while he was in Argentina. His pace is frightening but Eddie Jones describes him as still in kindergarten when it comes to learning the subtleties of an international winger.“I’ve scored some good tries for England, I’ve done some good things with Gloucester but I know there’s more in me and I want to take my game to the next level,” May says. “I’m at the top of my game and I’m not going to have much longer – four more years realistically – and I want to challenge myself.” Jonny May: ‘I am just trying to be my best. I’ve always had a belief inside’ Share on LinkedIn Read more Share on Messenger Jonny May’s ‘Neymar move’ is sign of bigger rugby union transfer deals May’s transfer has caused a stir because he used a clause in the Premiership’s code of conduct that allowed him to speak to other clubs and leave for a fixed compensation fee despite having a year left on his contract. The 12 clubs, fearful of the precedent it may have set, have since closed the loophole.“It’s not for me to say whether these clauses are right or wrong or if it’s good or bad for the game. I was presented with an opportunity,” says May. “It was no dead cert that if I did it I’d find a club and I wasn’t willing for it to carry on and affect the team. It was just a small window of opportunity to do it so I went for it.”Leicester sacked three coaches last season but with Matt O’Connor at the helm and with May joining Ford, Ben Youngs, Manu Tuilagi, Matt Toomua and Telusa Veainu at the Tigers, there is renewed optimism. Gloucester, too, have had a busy summer of recruitment but the new coach, Johan Ackermann, took up the post three weeks before the start of the season.“I have maybe left on terms that I wouldn’t have liked to but things hadn’t really kicked off at Gloucester,” says May. “The coach hadn’t arrived and I’ve done the starting-over-again process at Gloucester with numerous head coaches and I just felt like I didn’t want to do that again. But Leicester is a team I want to be a part of and if we play well together we can make each other look good. If we give George options at the line he can pick the right one and I can get some ball in space. If we can communicate well with Matt and Manu, it’s got great potential.” Since you’re here… Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Gloucester Share on WhatsApp Read more Reuse this content Rugby union Share on Facebook news Support The Guardian Jonny May’s head is still spinning. Despite the giddy anticipation of starting his Leicester career, the England winger cannot shake the remorse he feels at forcing his exit from Gloucester. Throw in that the landmark move was hurried through while he was on honeymoon in the Seychelles, and that he is currently living out of a rucksack, being put up by George Ford, and it is clear why May describes himself as all over the place. … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. 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