Jonny May wary Georgia match could be banana skin if England are over-confident

By Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent
·3-min read

Jonny May is wary of forecasting a conclusive victory over Georgia at Twickenham on Saturday knowing high expectations can be a trap.

England will launch their Autumn Nations Cup campaign amid anticipation that the sport’s 12th ranked team will be swept aside as Eddie Jones’ men look to build on their recent Six Nations success.

But May has called for patience from his team-mates if they are to avoid being sucked into the type of game that will suit the rugged Georgians.

“Georgia are a banana skin potentially. People are talking about tries and the weather not being so good, so can we throw the ball around,” said May.

“What you can expect the game to be like can be a trap. You need to go in there with a clear head and play the game for what it is.

“It could be a very tight game for long periods of time and Georgia are going to be difficult opponents.

“It’s a case of not slipping into the trap and forcing things and getting frustrated or going off script.

“The challenge this week is the expectation – how can we still play our game, play the moment and be the best we can be when we are expected to score the tries and win well.

“Georgia are talking about wanting to raise the bar and play the best game they’ve ever played.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to have a really good game, for themselves and for their country, and they’re going to be tricky opponents.

“As much as that’s the mindset, we have also got to be ready to work hard for our tries as well.

“The situation is that we’re playing an opposition that we’re backed to win and win well. That is the reality of it.

The match is to be played behind closed doors at Twickenham
England’s match with Georgia is to be played behind closed doors at Twickenham (Nigel French/PA)

“Of course we are going to respect Georgia a lot, but on games like this it really is a case of having the mindset to compete with ourselves and work on our own game and focus on ourselves.

“Our prep this week has very much been about how can we develop our game, all of the strands of our game that makes us England rugby, in our DNA and how we can keep pushing those things further on.”

Wind and rain are due to lash Twickenham on Saturday afternoon, potentially harming English attempts to deliver an improved attacking performance after toiling against Italy a fortnight earlier.

“Of course the weather has a huge impact on a game of rugby and it does look like it’s going to be wet, but that suits the way we play,” May said.

“We want to be a team that puts the opposition under pressure, pressure throughout the whole 80 minutes and then capitalise off the back of that. When it’s wet and it’s challenging conditions, it’s an even better opportunity to put pressure on the opposition.

“Maybe it won’t be a case of passing it down the line because it might be all wet, but we have got a great kicking game and we can put them under pressure that way.”