New Zealand v England: Jonny May defiant ahead of first Test

New Zealand v England: Gloucester star Jonny May is defiant ahead of the first Test this weekend

Jonny May has issued a defiant message ahead of the first test against New Zealand on Saturday.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster is without 14 players from Aviva Premiership finalists Northampton and Saracens for the game at Eden Park, where the All Blacks have won every game since 1994, while several others are missing through injury.

We are underdogs for this game. People have written us off in a way, but that’s not an excuse

Jonny May

New Zealand are targeting a 15th consecutive win and they have lost just once in 35 games – England’s 38-21 victory at Twickenham in December 2012.

But May, who scored nine tries in 16 Aviva Premiership appearances this season, insists the result is not a foregone conclusion.

“We have got nothing to lose going, but at the same time we have great players in our team,” May said.

“We are going forward as a team at the moment. We are not a rubbish team, we have good principles, we have good structures and everyone is buying into that.

“We are a tough outfit to play against for anyone, irrelevant of the new players that have come in because of the culture we have created as a team and the way we play. It is easy for players to jump in to it.

“We are underdogs for this game. People have written us off in a way, but that’s not an excuse.

“We put pressure on ourselves as a group, we want a performance and we will go out there and give it everything.”

Following impressive performances during the Six Nations, May looks set to win his seventh cap on Saturday.

He is yet to score a try for the Red Rose but he feels that now he understands the demands of international rugby he will be able to make his mark in New Zealand.

“During the Six Nations I learnt that Test rugby is a big mental jump – the pressure, accuracy and intensity are higher, but I thought I came out of it a better player,” he said.

“We weren’t great at Gloucester at the end of the season but I went away and worked on things and I feel more confident in myself.

“In the Six Nations I noticed a couple of times that I could have backed myself a little bit more on the outside.

“I think that’s a confidence thing, being involved in that for the first time. I have gone back to club level and worked on that.

“It was frustrating coming off the pitch thinking I could have gone for it then. It just wasn’t quite there but I’ve learnt from it and I want to put it right.”

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