England’s May savours "special" hat-trick in Six Nations rout of France
Jonny May bagged a Twickenham hat-trick with just four touches to blow France away and send a shiver through Wales.
The England try machine took his tally to 12 in 12 games as they rampaged to their biggest win in the fixture for 108 years.
Victory by six tries to one put them two points clear at the top of the Six Nations table and sends them to Cardiff on Saturday week for a likely title decider in buoyant mood.
“This is special,” said May. “To score one try for your country is awesome, especially at Twickenham. So I will remember this day. The challenge was trying to raise the bar after a really good team performance last week. We definitely played some good rugby.”
Within an hour of the final whistle team, boss Eddie Jones had already moved on and was getting stuck into the tournament’s only other unbeaten side.
Remembering his counterpart Warren Gatland last year describe the gap between Wales and a then-struggling England as “poles apart”, Jones sniped: “Let’s see how big the gap is next Saturday.”
His bullishness came off the springboard of another devastatingly effective performance from his team.
Having beaten up Ireland a week ago, they demolished France as quickly and as completely as Manchester City took apart Chelsea in the Premier League football match going on at the same time. For Argentina superstar Sergio Aguero read May, who had his hat-trick inside half an hour as England took apart France with a deadly accurate kicking game.
What made it all the more impressive was they let everyone know before the game what was coming.
Jones predicted that England would score early, as they had in their previous four games – and May duly obliged after just 66 seconds.
Elliot Daly was the architect with a weaving run and pinpoint kick into the path of the Leicester flyer, who did the rest.
Twenty minutes later May was at it again, though this time down to his own individual brilliance, leaving his marker on the floor with the sort of footwork that was once World Cup-winner Jason Robinson’s calling card.
France captain Guilhem Guirado spoke of the pain of his dishevelled side being humiliated by their arch-rivals.
“It was very, very difficult,” said the hooker. “The pressure was constant throughout the game. We never managed to get out of that. It was very painful to take try after try.”
It got no better as Henry Slade, the two-try hero of Dublin, combined with Chris Ashton to set up May’s third – then claimed one for himself on the stroke of half-time.
“When you put yourself in a position where after 40 minutes you’ve got a bonus point against a top team you’ve done pretty well,” smiled Jones. “And we probably left 15 to 20 points on the field. There’s a lot more in this team and we understand that.”
England did get lucky with two second-half tries, neither of which should have been awarded by referee Nigel Owens, but France really weren’t in any position to complain.
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