England's May feared for his England future
IN THE SPOTLGHT: Jonny May said he "feared this moment would never come again" after marking his return to England duty with a try against South Africa.
The Gloucester wing had been out of international action for 10 months since the World Cup with a career-threatening knee ligament injury.
But he showed all his old finishing skill to go over in the corner in the 10th minute at Twickenham on Saturday when scoring the first of England's four tries in a 37-21 victory over the Springboks.
"It was awesome to be back because I've worked so hard over God knows how many months," said May.
"I always targeted these games so I made it just in the nick of time.
"All my hard work paid off and I managed to score a try in the corner. For sure there were times when I felt this moment would never come again."
The 26-year-old added: "With a nasty injury like that, when it's potentially career-ending, you know you have to work extremely hard to get back, but that's all behind me.
"The last two weeks have been really tough. The way we train has been brutal, so I probably ran out of puff a little bit in the second half.
"I came off early so I've got to keep working hard to move onwards and upwards," explained May, who was replaced by Jonathan Joseph in the 62nd minute.
Courtney Lawes, George Ford and Owen Farrell also crossed the Springboks' line, with scrum-half Ben Youngs twice deceiving giant forward Pieter-Steph du Toit with dummies to set up two of the four tries.
"We played some good stuff and my try came from a move that we practised in the week," said May.
"It was nice to execute on the day. There were some good tries there. Ben was dangerous around the breakdown and we were clinical.
"It was a ruthless performance because any sniff of an opportunity to put points on the scoreboard, we took it," explained May, who has now scored seven tries in 20 Tests.
Saturday's result was England's first victory over South Africa since 2006 and their 11th in a row over all opponents - with coach Eddie Jones now boasting a perfect played 10, won 10 record since taking over after the World Cup.
"This win is huge for us because we haven't beaten South Africa for 10 years and none of us in the squad had ever won against them," said May.
It was view echoed by team-mate Chris Robshaw, with the flanker having been four times on the losing side for England against South Africa.
"It's massive because I've played a number of times against South Africa and it's been a fixture in which you feel you're quite close, but you're not actually," said Robshaw, removed as England captain by Jones in favour of hooker Dylan Hartley but retained as a back row forward.
"For us to get over that and get a comfortable scoreline is a great feeling."