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Gloucester sweating over fitness of Jonny May ahead of Bristol clash

Gloucester sweating over fitness of Jonny May ahead of Bristol clash
© Reuters
Jonny May failed a head injury assessment (HIA) following a high tackle from Melani Nanai during Saturday's thrashing of Worcester.

Gloucester head coach George Skivington says Jonny May could recover in time for Friday’s Gallagher Premiership clash with local rivals Bristol but admits he is making contingency plans.

May’s first game since returning to Kingsholm from Leicester Tigers lasted just 18 minutes after he failed a head injury assessment (HIA) following a high tackle from Melani Nanai during Saturday’s thrashing of Worcester.

Warriors full-back Nanai was sent off for the challenge by referee Christophe Ridley and later apologised to England wing May.

Skivington must wait to discover whether the player will be fit to feature in the derby clash with the second-placed Bears.

Gloucester head coach George Skivington
Gloucester head coach George Skivington (Nick Potts/PA)

“Jonny’s going through the protocols. He didn’t train today, there is certain HIA stuff he’s got to go through with the medical team and I will get a report at the end of the day and find out where he is at,” said Skivington.

“The protocol means he could turn it around and play, there’s time. But obviously there are certain measures that the physio and him will go through and tick off.

“I’m not sure where he’s at but obviously we’re planning around it and what not. But, yeah, he can turn it around for the game.”

May, who has 56 international caps and helped England reach last year’s World Cup final, is back with the Cherry and Whites after three years at Leicester.

Skivington says the 30-year-old was bitterly disappointed to have his eagerly-anticipated return ruined by concussion and is “itching” to be back in action.

“Jonny desperately wants to play and he’s obviously gutted that incident took place and meant that he couldn’t play that game,” said Skivington.

“But what I will say about Jonny is he’s an unbelievable professional and he is really focused on the best he can be.

“I’ve had some great chats with him since he’s been back in – not about the injury or what happened on the weekend – but just about what he thought could be better in the game and he’s just itching to play rugby.”

After beginning his tenure with a routine 44-15 win over lowly opposition playing a man light for more than an hour, former London Irish forwards coach Skivington faces a far tougher proposition for his home debut.

Title-hopefuls Bristol make the short journey north eight points behind leaders Exeter after edging past Championship-bound Saracens last weekend.

Second-placed Bristol overcame Saracens at Ashton Gate last weekend
Second-placed Bristol overcame Saracens at Ashton Gate last weekend (Tim Goode/PA)

“Bristol are a top-four team and they will be pushing for the title this year and they are full of superstar players,” said Skivington.

“They’ve got guys who can open the game up in the blink of an eye.

“I thought against Saracens they were really well organised, they will be better this week and they’ll be looking forward to coming to us.

“We’re under no illusions about how hard it will be and we’ve got to bring our best game to compete with that.”

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