Jonny May scored a sublime solo try as England beat Ireland 18-7 at Twickenham to extend their winning run to six matches and take charge of Autumn Nations Cup A.

The clinical May finished superbly to open the scoring and had a first-half double when he sprinted from deep inside his own half to score a sensational try four minutes later 

Wing May moved level with Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood on 31 tries for England, a tally only Rory Underwood has bettered, as the Six Nations champions secured a fourth win in a row against Ireland.

Jacob Stockdale got Ireland on the board with a late try but they were frustrated by a defensive masterclass from Eddie Jones' side.

Owen Farrell scored eight points from the tee and laid on May's first try as England put themselves on course to win the group ahead of a clash with Wales next weekend.

May rose to brilliantly take a high cross-field kick from Farrell before spinning and planting the ball down to put England in front 16 minutes after the forwards applied huge pressure on Ireland.

Lethal flyer May then punished Ireland for a poor lineout by showing searing pace and great footwork to score a magnificent try that he created for himself from inside him own 22, with Farrell adding the extras.

Ireland continued to struggle at the set-piece and although they prevented the Red Rose from increasing their lead before the break, but two Farrell penalties stretched the advantage to 18 points.

England defended for their lives and looked set to nil Andy Farrell's side until Stockdale surged through to take his own clever kick over the top and score a try, which Billy Burns converted, seven minutes from time but it was too little, too late.

England wing Jonny May will leave Leicester Tigers and return to Gloucester at the end of the Premiership season.

The 30-year-old joined Leicester in 2017 having previously spent eight years at Gloucester, with whom he came through the academy.

May, who has 56 Test caps, will move back to his former club once the 2019-20 season, currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, concludes.

The prolific May has scored 30 tries in 44 appearances for the Tigers, although the club sit second-bottom of the table, with only Saracens – who have a points deduction – below them. 

"I'm proud of my time at Leicester Tigers," May said as the team announced his move on Saturday.

"What an amazing experience to have played for such a great club. It really has developed my game and it's brought the best out in me as a player. I gave 100 per cent every time I put the shirt on and I have no regrets.

"For numerous reasons it hasn't worked out for me to stay on at Leicester Tigers, which is a shame.

"It's been a challenging few years but I have made some great mates and worked with some brilliant people.

"I hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy in this tough period and also really hope that things start improving and I get the opportunity to play for Leicester Tigers, with my mates, a few more times before I leave.

"Thank you to everyone at Leicester Tigers, especially the fans, I'm sorry we haven't given you what you have wanted the last few seasons but I'm very optimistic about the future for Leicester Tigers."

On returning to Gloucester, who sit ninth in the table, May added: "Once I had made the decision to leave Leicester there was only ever one club I really wanted to play for. 

"I'm grateful to [director of rugby] David Humphreys and everyone at Gloucester Rugby who have found a way for me to rejoin. I'm very excited about being back in Cherry and White playing at Kingsholm again."

New captain Charles Ollivon scored a try in each half as France started the Fabien Galthie era with a clinical 24-17 Six Nations defeat of sloppy England at Stade de France.

There was an air of optimism in Paris after Galthie picked a youthful squad for his first tournament as head coach and Les Bleus made a dream start to a new dawn in the Paris rain on Sunday.

Vincent Rattez scored his first Test try and Ollivon claimed a contentious second in a first half France ended with a 17-0 lead, England left to rue a string of handling errors in tricky conditions.

Ollivon went over again after the break and Romain Ntamack took his tally from the tee to nine points to put France 24-0 up after Galthie's men soaked up huge pressure with magnificent defence.

Jonny May set the nerves jangling with a brace of sublime solo tries and Owen Farrell booted seven points to earn a losing bonus point, but the Rugby World Cup runners-up - who lost Manu Tuilagi to injury early on - were made to pay for a lack of ruthlessness in the final third.

France were resolute and well drilled, showing the influence new defence coach Shaun Edwards already appears to have made, as they held on for a huge victory a year after letting a 16-0 half-time lead slip in their first game of the Six Nations against Wales.

Rattez - in for the injured Damian Penaud - raised the roof when he crossed just five minutes in after taking a clever inside pass from Ntamack, Teddy Thomas having cut England open with an initial incisive burst.

Ntamack added the extras and extended the lead with a penalty before Tuilagi's early departure gave England another headache.

Handling errors cost England and they were punished for not playing on when they were convinced Ollivon had knocked on before he raced away to touch down, the TMO awarding the try.

England continued to rack up the errors as they applied huge pressure either side of half-time but were unable to break through as resolute France defended for their lives. 

It was all England, but they were caught out again when Antoine Dupont scooted around the outside and whipped the ball inside for back-row Ollivon, who slid over for a double 15 minutes into the second half and Ntamack again added the extras.

Referee Nigel Owens warned both sides following a mass melee and England finally broke through when May showed a rapid turn of foot to get on the end of his own kick and dot down.

Wing May, who scored a hat-trick in a hammering of France last year, darted inside to go over for another brilliant score, but George Kruis was denied a third try when he charged through, so a Farrell penalty with the last kick of the game meant they would only head home with a solitary point.

The Rugby World Cup final is upon us. England and South Africa will face off in Yokohama on Saturday, with the winner lifting the Webb Ellis Cup.

Both sides have enjoyed fantastic runs to this stage, with England winning every match they have played at the finals and dominating two-time defending champions New Zealand in the last four.

The Springboks were beaten by the All Blacks in their opening match but have recovered in impressive fashion, closing on a third title.

With the help of Opta data, we look at the key numbers ahead of what promises to be an enthralling final between two worthy winners.
 

2 - England have won back-to-back Tests against South Africa, but their record against the Springboks had previously been nothing to shout about. They managed just one victory in their prior 15 meetings.

33 - Eddie Jones' team will need to be at it from the off on Saturday. South Africa having gone on to win 33 of their 35 World Cup matches in which they have led at the break.

89 - Owen Farrell needs just 11 points to become the second player to reach 100 World Cup points for England after Jonny Wilkinson, who accumulated 277.

0 - South Africa won the previous two World Cup finals they appeared in, but both victories came without either side scoring a try.

1 - If England beat Rassie Erasmus' side, they will become the first team to beat Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in a single World Cup campaign.

407 - Springbok Damian de Allende is one of only three players to have played more minutes at this tournament than England duo Elliot Daly and Tom Curry, who have each clocked up 400.

3 - The sides have previously met four times in the World Cup, with South Africa coming out on top in three of those matches. Their most recent World Cup meeting came in the 2007 final, which the Springboks won 15-6.

140 - Handre Pollard has scored more points at a World Cup than any other South Africa player, although he is yet to score a try in the competition.

50 - Siya Kolisi is set to earn his 50th Test cap and his 20th as Springboks captain.

98 - South Africa have the best lineout success rate of any side at this World Cup, having only lost one, which came in their semi-final win over Wales.

4 - This will be England's fourth appearance in the final, a joint record alongside Australia and the All Blacks.

27 - Jonny May needs one more try to equal Jason Robinson on 28 for England, the joint-fifth most for England. He has four in six appearances against the Springboks.

A smiling Eddie Jones hit back at Warren Gatland in typically mischievous fashion after the outgoing Wales coach appeared to question whether England would "turn up" in the Rugby World Cup final.

England produced a sensational performance on Saturday to dethrone two-time defending champions New Zealand, triumphing 19-7 as the likes of Maro Itoje, Sam Underhill and George Ford excelled.

Jones' side will face South Africa in a repeat of the 2007 final, the Springboks having edged out Wales 19-16 in Sunday's second last-four contest to deny Gatland a triumphant send-off.

Following Wales' loss, Gatland said: "We have seen in previous World Cups that teams sometimes play their final in semi-finals and don’t always turn up for a final. So it will be interesting to see how England are next week."

When those comments were put to Jones on Monday, the Australian broke into a grin and replied: "Well, guys, can you just send my best wishes to Warren to make sure he enjoys the third and fourth place play-off."

Jones was able to deliver positive injury updates on Jonny May and skipper Owen Farrell. May was a doubt for the semi-final against the All Blacks due to a hamstring injury and limped off early in the second half, while Farrell relinquished kicking duties to Ford after taking a knock in the opening 40.

"We had a walk through this morning and we had to tell Jonny to slow down a bit," Jones said of May. "He is probably in better condition than he was last week at this stage. Immeasurably better.

"Owen is a bit sore but he will be fine. We have got a few others carrying bumps and bruises because it was a tough game."

One England player who will not feature in Saturday's final is Willi Heinz. The scrum-half suffered a hamstring injury after coming off the bench against New Zealand and Ben Spencer has been called up in his place.

"It is tough for Willi," said Jones. "He has been a great contributor and a very well-liked member of the squad. He was in tears in the dressing room but he has collected himself and now knows he has another role to play for us and he will fulfil that role really well this week.

"Ben has been in and around the squad consistently for the last couple of years so he knows the game, he knows the players. He is a fit guy and just fits in quite readily. We always said to those guys outside the 31 that they need to be ready, and he is ready to go."

England expect Jonny May and Jack Nowell to be fit for their Rugby World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, according to assistant coach Neal Hatley.

May scored two tries in England's dominant 40-16 victory over Australia on Saturday, helping Eddie Jones' side set up a last-four tie with the All Blacks, who thrashed Ireland.

However, England had cause for concern over May when the wing suffered a hamstring injury, while Nowell has also been dealing with a similar problem.

But Hatley has revealed both players are expected to be available for selection for Saturday's contest in Yokohama.

"It's fantastic where we are, all 31 being available for selection at the end of the week," said Hatley in a news conference.

"Jonny's bouncing around this morning. He has a small twinge and we'll assess where he is a little bit later today.

"He's in really good spirits, moving well, and we expect Jack to be fit for selection as well."

England last met reigning world champions New Zealand at Twickenham in November 2018, with the All Blacks edging out a 16-15 victory. Hatley, though, insists neither side should read too much into that previous meeting.

"I think the goal for us is to get better every day. I think we've improved, but they've improved as well. I don't think we can take a lot from what happened in Autumn," he added.

"You know, they were missing a few, we were missing a few, and I think both sides have improved since then, it's a whole different situation.

"We've got certain things that we'll l want to do in that first 15, 20 minutes and we need to focus on what we do right, then hopefully we'll replicate the same start."

Jones, meanwhile, lauded the current New Zealand side as the "greatest team" of all time - and not just in rugby union, either.

"We are playing the greatest team there has ever been in sport," he told reporters. "If you look at their record, I don't think there's a team that comes close to them for sustainability.

"Name me another team in the world that plays at the absolute top level that wins 90 per cent of their games.

"Now, talent doesn't matter. When you get to this stage of the tournament, it's about how strong the team is. The reason I took this job is because I saw a team that could be great and that was the challenge and they are starting to believe it."

Matt Toomua has an insight into opponents England from his time with Leicester Tigers, but his assessment of their "weaknesses" will be of little use in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final on Saturday.

Toomua spent three years in the Premiership with Leicester and is set to come face-to-face with a number of former Tigers team-mates in Oita this weekend. 

The versatile 29-year-old is among the Australia replacements to take on an England side including the likes of Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs and Jonny May, with George Ford and Dan Cole on the bench.

Asked for his thoughts on his ex-colleagues, Toomua told a news conference: "I know all their weaknesses. I can list them now for you if you want.

"Manu is a terrible snooker player, George Ford never pays for a beer, Ben Youngs isn't even the best rugby player in his family, let alone his country.

"The chicken, Jonny May, is very weird, and Dan Cole doesn't have a personality. I've just been telling everybody about that."

Shifting to a more serious tone, he added: "No, we had a great relationship with them and one thing we do know is they're all quality players. We were fortunate for the last couple of years when Manu came back from injury, we just saw him grow in stature.

"He probably grows the bigger the game as well. He probably plays his best rugby in Tests, and that's the sign of a true champion player.

"Obviously Manu is a name that sticks out for a lot of reasons - he is a strong carrier and makes a lot of big plays. But it is probably about trying to shut down his time and space.

"He is at 12 now so he is a bit closer to the play, so it might be a little easier in that sense. I'm sure they're working out ways to give him some ball one-on-one at full steam."

While Tuilagi is a very real threat to Australia from the outset, Ford lost the number 10 shirt to Owen Farrell despite an impressive tournament to date.

Captain Farrell said: "I've played fly-half plenty of times before, I'm fine with playing fly-half. It's more about how I can fit in the team and hopefully put us in a place to perform well at the weekend."

Jonny May reflected on how a decision to snub a team night out in favour of dinner with his parents paid huge dividends as he prepares to celebrate winning a 50th England cap.

The Leicester Tigers flyer made his international debut over six years ago during a tour of Argentina, when the majority of the team was on British and Irish Lions duty.

May was overlooked for the first Test in favour of David Strettle and Christian Wade and had initially missed out on selection for the second game before the latter was drafted to Australia with the Lions.

It is here where fate was on the side of May, who had shunned a drinking session with the players not in the matchday squad the night before the game in favour of a more serene evening.

"Funnily enough Christian Wade got called up for the Lions on the morning of the game," said May. 

"And basically because my mum and dad were out and I went out for dinner with them and all the other non-23 players went out on the p***, so I got the 'go on you can play' pretty much! It's funny how it works out.

"I didn't feel ashamed but I didn't feel great because my parents were out there and it looked like I wasn't going to get a game. 

"What was probably quite a challenging couple of weeks finished on a really good note as my parents got to watch me play and I got my first cap. It all worked out in the end."

It took May until his eighth cap to score a first England try but his strike rate is now an impressive 25 in 49 Tests.

The 29-year-old has established himself as one of the best wingers in world rugby and could make his landmark England appearance in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Australia in Oita on Saturday.

Any personal achievements are on the back burner for May, though, whose sole focus is on helping the team defeat the Wallabies.

"If you take a step back, you'd say it's an awesome achievement, something I'm very proud of and hopefully I've made my family proud," he added. 

"But it's no time to take a step back. It's a huge team game at the weekend.

"It really has been a challenge. You have to fight to be a part of the squad, let alone to start. My mindset has changed so much on that, especially with Eddie [Jones] coming in. 

"It's a squad performance. We're competing to be the best we can be, we're not competing with each other.

"I have changed a lot, not just as a rugby player but as a person. I have matured. I have become more focused, maybe a little bit more introverted as the years have gone on.

"I'm not necessarily at a stage now where I'm working harder but I'm working smarter, just to keep developing and improving."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.