Owen Farrell shocked by Jonny May’s rapid recovery to earn England starting spot

Jonny May’s remarkable comeback has even shocked room-mate Owen Farrell as England look to the electric wing to inject pace into their backline.

Three weeks after dislocating his elbow on club duty for Gloucester, May has completed a remarkably rapid recovery to replace Joe Cokanasiga on the left wing for Saturday’s clash with Japan.

In obvious pain, the 32-year-old received lengthy treatment on the London Irish pitch and was administered oxygen before being helped off with his left arm in a giant brace, his Autumn Nations Series seemingly over.

But in the latest twist of a roller-coaster 2022 that has included spells out with a knee injury and Covid-19, he has been asked to provide England with the gas that was missing in a dispiriting 30-29 defeat by Argentina.

“I didn’t go to our pre-autumn training camp in Jersey, so I didn’t really know that there was a chance he would be fit,” said Farrell, who will lead the side out at Twickenham.

“Then I came into camp here on the Monday and realised I was rooming with him! That was a bit of a shock! And then all of a sudden he’s absolutely fine.

“He was obviously lucky in terms of not doing more damage than he did, at the same time he’s always going to do the right thing for his recovery.

Owen Farrell believes England must not overthink against Japan
Owen Farrell says England must not overthink against Japan (Ben Whitley/PA)

“He’s a good room-mate. He’s doing a lot of recovery a lot of the time. He leaves no stone unturned when it comes to that.

“He looks like he’s in a good place as well. He seems calm, he looks excited to be back and hopefully we all get the best out of each other at the weekend.”

It will be May’s first England appearance in a year and Eddie Jones admits he does not know what to expect given his time out of the game.

“We’ve had a couple of training runs with him, he looks pretty sharp, he looks good,” Jones said.

Eddie Jones has picked Jonny May not knowing what to expect from him given his time out of the game
Eddie Jones has picked Jonny May not knowing what to expect from him given his time out of the game (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I’ve got no reason why he’s not close to his best, but he hasn’t played a serious game of Test rugby for a long time, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

May will be stepping into a side that is determined to atone for a flat display against Argentina and Farrell insists England must shed their fear of making mistakes if they are to thrive on Saturday.

“We don’t want to overthink going into this weekend, which maybe we were guilty of a little bit last weekend,” Farrell said.

“We want to free ourselves up to be the best version of ourselves. We’ve spoken a little bit about that this week and we will try to build that up going into Saturday.

“It’s about letting go that bit more and not worrying about everything as much, trying to be as free but in control of the next moment.”