If there’s one player that two-time Grand Slam-winner Tom Shanklin fears ahead of Wales’ potentially pivotal showdown with England, then it’s wing wizard Jonny May.
On Saturday afternoon, two unbeaten sides go head-to-head in Cardiff as Warren Gatland’s charges play host to Eddie Jones’ troops in a clash that could go some way to deciding who claims the 2019 Guinness Six Nations crown.
Former Wales centre Shanklin, an ambassador for Tissot, the official timekeeper of the Guinness Six Nations, will be watching on keenly when his nation and England go at it.
And the 39-year-old, who was part of the Wales teams that tasted Grand Slam glory in both 2005 and 2008, reckons that his old side will be coming up against the player of the Championship so far.
“It’s hard to look past Jonny May,” said Shanklin.
“A lot of people were picking Jacob Stockdale to be the Player of the Championship again because of his form leading up to this.
“But Jonny May; people were doubting him whether he is good in the air and he proved that against Ireland.
“He commanded that space again against France as well.
“He’s really difficult to defend against. Just raw pace, raw finishing ability, and that’s just quality and a nightmare.
“You look at that first try where [Elliot] Daly kicked the ball through, it’s just sheer pace and being cool under pressure to be able to touch those balls down, because the second one, that kick by [Chris] Ashton, the ball’s over the line and he just slides with one hand and picks it up.
“That is a player that is just full of confidence.”
May, 28, starred with an early try in England’s 32-20 victory over Ireland in Round One before stealing the show with a hat-trick as Jones’ men defeated France 44-8 last time out.
In Shanklin’s eyes, the England ace possesses talent plucked straight from the top drawer and could prove lethal at Principality Stadium if Wales aren’t wary.
“Is he world class? If the Lions were to be picked tomorrow, he’d be your winger because of his ability to cross the line and score tries,” said the former British & Irish Lion.
“You are not going to win games against big, tough opposition, world-class opposition – I’m talking the top three in the international rankings – without scoring tries.
“Yes, your game will be won by scoring 12 or 15 points with the boot but you have to score two or three tries to win games and with Jonny May in the side, you are not guaranteed to but you’ve certainly got a better chance than most.”