May facing Brisbane Test KO as Jones battles to find winning formula for England

By Sports Desk July 05, 2022

England wing Jonny May is set to miss Saturday's pivotal second Test against Australia in Brisbane as he makes a "graded return" from a coronavirus lay-off.

The 32-year-old Gloucester player has yet to return to full squad training after emerging from quarantine, and that means he is not expected to figure in Eddie Jones' selection for the weekend.

Defence coach Anthony Seibold said on Tuesday: "It was a long seven days for Jonny. He's been back on his feet today, running, but he didn't join in with the team. It will be a graded return to full training for him.

"We tried to include Jonny while he was in isolation, so sending him the team meetings, the backs meetings. We've used him as a really experienced Test player. We have a really young group in the backs, so he's been a bit of a resource for those guys."

May was absent as England loss the first Test 30-28 in Perth, where two late tries prevented the tourists incurring a heavier defeat. London Irish teenager Henry Arundell made a big impression off the bench as a wing and could come into contention to start in Brisbane, or Jones may elect to use him again as a high-impact replacement.

England will also be without flanker Tom Curry, due to concussion, and the Sale Sharks man will not feature in the third Test in Sydney either.

Seibold said potential replacements Lewis Ludlam, Sam Underhill and Jack Willis were "three really good guys".

Quoted on Skysports.com, Seibold added: "Lewis Ludlam came on and competed really strongly when Tom Curry came off on Saturday.

"He's been a great leader for Northampton this year and when he comes into camp you can certainly tell why he is the captain of his club.

"Jack Willis is really good over the ball and competes really strongly defensively, while Sam Underhill was one of the outstanding players at the 2019 World Cup.

"He missed out on selection for the first Test, but he’s competed really strongly to put himself in the frame for the second. So we've got some options there. Tom's a big part of our team so he'll be a loss, but it's an opportunity for somebody else."

Losing senior figures means a difficult task for England becomes even more complicated. Australia have won their last five Tests on home soil – their best-such run since 2008 – and five of their last eight when hosting European opposition.

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