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Jonny May says England will focus on their own game and not worry about Scotland’s Finn Russell

England winger Jonny May discusses the threat of Finn Russell, what it is like in the camp under Covid restrictions and why he is not thinking too far ahead to the British and Irish Lions tour this summer; England play Scotland in Six Nations opener on Saturday

Jonny May says England will not focus on the inventiveness of fly-half Finn Russell and adapt their game in order to win Saturday’s Six Nations clash against Scotland.

Scotland have not won at the home of English rugby since 1983 but they could not have come closer on their most recent visit, securing a dramatic 38-38 draw two years ago after coming from 31 points down before being pegged back three minutes after the 80-minute mark.

The man to lead Scotland’s fightback that day was Russell, who, after patching things up with Scotland coach Gregor Townsend, looks set to start on Saturday. However, England wing May insists it is better to focus on developing your own game than worrying about what the opposition might do.

“I am aware of the threat of Finn Russell but I am going to focus on me and do me as best as I possibly can,” May told Sky Sports on Wednesday.

“He’s a great player and he’s very challenging, but how much time do you allocate focusing on who you are playing and how much time do you allocate on yourself?

“The more I play, the more time I am investing in myself and my team-mates. Each week in the Premiership, I play against very good players and you give them the utmost respect, but you need to focus on yourself.”

May is hoping the 2021 Six Nations will be a little more exciting and open than the recent Autumn Nations Cup but says England’s aim is to adapt their game in order to win.

“Rugby is a crazy game with so many variables – it is constantly changing and evolving. Ultimately, we don’t dictate the way we play – the game does,” explained May.

“We want to win, so if the way to win a game is to kick the ball 100 times, then you have got to do it. At the moment defences are on top, so rugby is dictating to us that we may have to defend more than we attack – which may not be the way we want to play.

“We will prepare as best as we possibly can and focus on our games – we will then have to adapt to the game when we get there. If that is open rugby then brilliant, if its not then that is brilliant as well because we just want to win.”

May also revealed the strict safety precautions the team have to undergo in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and explained why he is handling it better than some of his team-mates.

He said: “I don’t think camp is strange, I think the world is strange – it is such a crazy time and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to be distracted and lose myself in rugby.

“It is a depressing world at the moment and I am very grateful to be here. The small little changes and sacrifices we have to make is a small price to pay to do what we love.

“We are not allowed in each others room, in the pre-covid days you would share a room with someone but now we have our own rooms – which is quite nice.

“Dinner is a bit different – we sit at our own table – we are all close enough but just at our own tables.

“For me personally I don’t socialise that much with the boys outside of rugby. My recovery and my stuff takes up a lot of time. In my room I have my recovery pumps and my hypobaric chamber – everything I possibly need. I can spend most of my day in there.

“I get my social fix in the weight room or at dinner but I can imagine some of the other boys may find it a bit harder as they are used to meeting up for a coffee or in the rooms playing PlayStation and stuff. But everyone is adapting well.”

May also understands how confusing it can be – on one hand they need to dine alone and not socialise but then they go into matches with mauls, rucks and scrums.

“It is a bit like the football celebration thing – they can run together, barge each other and be shoulder to shoulder but if they score a goal they are not allowed to high five each other,” said May.

“We are not allowed to stand arm in arm but then we hit scrums. Maybe it is a bit confusing but I think it is the right thing to do. It is setting an example and shows we are aligned with everyone else in taking on this virus.

“We need to be doing everything we can when there is so much hardship and sacrifices going on.”

This year should see the British and Irish Lions travel to take on South Africa, however, the pandemic has put the series in doubt and May is reluctant to think too much about it.

May said: “It is a tricky subject for me to talk about – of course it is a dream and it is a lovely thought to play for the Lions. But at the moment it is a distraction. I want to focus on my next training session and I want to play as well as I possibly can this weekend.

“What I will say on it is that these are unprecedented times and I am sure everyone is working as hard as possible to have the best-case scenario to make it happen.”

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