Jonny May admits that for the only time in his career he was relieved not to be chosen by England after a bad dose of Covid reduced his tour of Australia to two training sessions.
Waking up exhausted the day after arriving Down Under, the Gloucester wing tested positive and spent the next seven days in solitary confinement where he lost nearly a stone in weight and a recent knee injury swelled so alarming.
Only a groggy transfer from one hotel to another as England swapped the location of their base in Perth ended a torturous period of quarantine.
“Everything was a bit blurry for me. I got Covid, I’m in a hotel, the doctor is fussing as you can imagine,” May said.
“I’ve been put in a van with this ultra-mask on, driven across town, in the back of a hotel, in this elevator that looks like it’s used for laundry or as a food cart – it’s not is not a human elevator – just up to the top floor, and it was me up there alone for seven days.
“I felt like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons – all weak and tired. For three days I was in and out of sleep. Then you get into a little routine – getting up, calling the chef, having coffee, having breakfast.
“I watched quite a bit of Aussie Rules Football. They have a whole channel for that, so I watched quite a bit of that. I watched all of Stranger Things and Tom Brady on Disney+, it was called Man in the Arena.
“What I took away is that he still has an influence on his teammates. In the back of my head, I was thinking, “If I get out of my room, just be a good influence.
“I’m not in the best position so I can contribute on the pitch, so just try to help in other ways.”
May trained on his own during the middle week in Brisbane and having missed the first and second Tests he was then overlooked for the third as England secured victory in a decisive series.
“When Eddie Jones announced the team on Monday of last week and I wasn’t there, I was actually quite relieved. I would have tried, but I didn’t feel up to it,” May said.
“It might have been different physically if I had played 25 games last season, but I didn’t. Everything worked against me in this sense.
“I did everything I could to be available and if Eddie had chosen me, I probably would have tried, stupidly.”
It was the second major dose of Covid in May and it was only two games after he returned from a serious knee injury.
“I haven’t really been this excited about playing in a long time because I just want to turn the game around,” May said.
“I’ve done so many rehab sessions, running around alone, sitting in my hotel room, I just want to play now.”
. Jonny admits he been relieved not play Australia after battle Covid