Jonny May will line up on the wing for England against Italy on Saturday hoping to add to his tally of four tries in the first three games of the Six Nations but hoping the match pans out better than the last one both for the team and for him.
May’s involvement in the 21-13 defeat by Wales two weeks ago ended after 69 minutes when he was left flat out on the Cardiff turf, his arms and legs flailing in what initially appeared to be the worrying spasms sometimes displayed when players are knocked unconscious.
May eventually got back to his feet but, after a couple of groggy minutes, the medics intervened and he was taken off to undergo a Head Injury Assessment (HIA), which he failed, automatically ending his participation.
Whether the scientists who developed the test will be concerned by May’s laughing confession that he tried to “cheat the system” or pleased that he was not able to is not known, but he was happy to laugh at himself and his inept efforts.
“I wasn’t unconscious or anything, you’re trying to refocus and I felt like I could carry on but the system’s there to protect us,” he told reporters on the eve of Saturday’s Twickenham clash.
The HIA works by testing all the players pre-season to establish a baseline score on a series of cognitive and memory tasks, which is then measured against their performance in the immediate aftermath of a head injury.