By Paul Jones
Jonny May has tipped his Gloucester team-mate – but Wales rival – Louis Rees-Zammit to become a “world-class player” after his free-scoring start to this year’s Six Nations.
Wales wing Rees-Zammit is the tournament’s leading try-scorer with three tries in two games, having grabbed the decisive scores in Wales’ wins over Ireland and Scotland.
May’s battle with Rees-Zammit on the left wing could be one of the highlights of Wales’ clash with England in Cardiff on Saturday as Wayne Pivac’s side go in search of what would be a stunning Triple Crown.
“It’s great to see him doing well,” May said of Rees-Zammit, his 20-year-old clubmate.
“I’ve enjoyed playing with him at Gloucester and being around him. He’s absolutely rapid and he’s got a good feel for the game as well. He’s going to be a world-class player.
“It’s good being at Gloucester with him, Ollie Thorley, Jason (Woodward). We’ve got some good back three players and I think we’re bringing the best out of each other. We’re bouncing off each other a bit.”
Rees-Zammit was an eight-year-old when 30-year-old May started his senior career, but the two wings are now the main strike weapons for their respective countries.
Having faltered in attack in their dismal defeat to Scotland, England responded with a six-try victory over Italy last weekend with May producing an acrobatic finish in the corner.
“On a good day, I can just about keep up with Louis,” added May. “He is as quick as anyone I have come across, very young with the potential to become faster.
“He is a raw talent with a lot of potential to get better and I try and help him at Gloucester. He just needs to keep doing what he’s doing.
“I will give him a wave when I see him, then you just crack on.
This Louis Rees-Zammit try has ‘Lion’ written all over it.
— The Rugby Paper (@TheRugbyPaper) February 13, 2021
“It’s just another game and it’s not like it’s me and Zam; it’s England against Wales and as a team we are going out there to get better and raise the bar. I just want to be the best player that I can be.”
The try against Italy moved May to outright second in England’s all-time try-scorer list with his 32nd score but he says there is still plenty of room for improvement ahead of the contest at the Principality Stadium.
“The Scotland game was incredibly disappointing,” said May. “We just wanted to go out there and strip things back a little bit, make things a little bit simpler for ourselves.
“The backs met a couple of times in the week and said that we need to start moving the ball a bit more, not stressing about the detail all that much or overthinking it. Let’s just move the ball around – why not get our hands on the ball and take people on.
“I think we did that. It wasn’t perfect but the intent was in the right place.”
It’s hard to beat out and out PACE! 💨
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) April 12, 2018
Wales have lost five of the last six tournament matches against Wales since Warren Gatland’s team beat them at the 2015 World Cup at Twickenham.
“The pressure is on Wales because they want to keep winning and it is on us because we had a poor game against Scotland and after going in the right direction against Italy are in no position to take another step backwards,” said May.
“We put pressure on ourselves regardless of the circumstances. It is just a shame there will be no one to watch.”