RUGBY: Captain May eager to make his mark in big time

Tom May scores against Rotherham last season

Tom May scores against Rotherham last season

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

TOM May said he jumped at the chance to captain London Welsh in the Aviva Premiership.

Centre May and lock Matt Corker will continue as the Exiles’ team and club skippers in 2014-15, it was announced yesterday.

May, 35, who suggested he will retire after a second season with Welsh, is relishing leading the Oxford-based club on their return to the top flight.

He said: “After winning the Championship final I allowed myself a couple of days to forget totally about rugby and went on holiday, but as much as I didn’t want, to I was immediately thinking about next season.

“So when I came back and Justin Burnell asked me to be team captain again I was always going to jump at the chance, because I loved doing it last year.

“They’re a great bunch of lads and the new players we’ve signed so far just complement what we had from before.

“To lead the team out in the Premiership at places where I’ve played so much of my rugby will be amazing.

“I’m probably looking at finishing this year so to be asked to be captain allows me to really enjoy this last year, put everything in to it and get the most out of it.”

Corker, 31, is preparing for his eighth season with Welsh, having battled back from a heart condition to play a key role in their Greene King IPA Championship triumph.

Corker said: “For the club to be back in the Premiership and for me to have the honour of being club captain is something I’m really grateful for and very proud of.

“Last season there was a really good dynamic between Tom and I.

“I perhaps did more of the off field stuff, and Tom brings his wealth of experience to the on field, but I’d like to think we blur the lines a little bit. We’re a team.

“To be back in the Premiership is a fantastic achievement by the club, as well as for me personally.

“I really hope we can have a fantastic season and I think we’re in a great position to do that, and really push the club forward.”

Head coach Burnell said: “Tom and Matt were great to work with last season. They’re two of the most professional and honourable people I have ever met.

“Matt has London Welsh running through his veins and Tom is an absolute role model both on and off the field.

“In the Championship semi-finals and finals they both came into their own. They were born leaders for us.”

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