Jonny May is convinced that England have the firepower and variety in attack to sweep all before them at the Rugby World Cup.
Eddie Jones’ title contenders have engineered an average of 4.3 tries in each game this year and were the most creative side at the recent Six Nations by crossing 24 times – 10 more than nearest rivals Ireland.
As their deadliest finisher, May is the key weapon in the England arsenal, but the Leicester wing insists there are myriad threats that can be unleashed on the opposition.
Even with the tackle-busting Joe Cokanasiga and Jack Nowell carrying injuries, potentially ruling both out of the opener against Tonga on Sunday, Jones still has the likes of Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly and Manu Tuilagi at his disposal.
When asked if any other team could rival the depth of England’s attacking options, May said: “I would say not. It is nothing like I have ever been a part of.
“I look around the room at the team-mates and the talent we have and for me the belief is genuine that we can beat anybody if we are at our best. I genuinely believe we will peak at this World Cup.
“I don’t want to come across as arrogant because I am not but I generally just can’t talk up my team-mates enough.
“We have got players who can take the ball to the line and make decisions, we have got players who can run over people, we have got speed, we have got left foot options.
“Do other teams have great players? Of course they do. It will come down to who produces it on the day, who is ready for it and mentally who can handle it.
“I believe this team is ready. There are genuine reasons to believe that we can do something very special.”
Jones announces his team on Friday as England’s World Cup launches with two matches in four days, the clash with hard-tackling Tonga in Sapporo followed by a showdown against the USA in Kobe.
“This team is beyond thinking about who is the starting XV. The message from Eddie is that he will pick a team to beat that opposition on that day and everyone has a role,” May said.
“It is not about who is better than who. We are not about that on this team. There is no point.
“We are very different and we are just about being the best versions of ourselves for the team.”
Since exploding into form on last summer’s tour to South Africa, May has been an unstoppable force for England by crossing six times in seven games this year, but he would gladly sacrifice tries for a triumphant World Cup.
“It is a terrible trap to fall into, going into a game wanting to score a try or trying to score a try,” May said.
“Of course, for a winger a try is the cherry on top of the cake. I couldn’t care if I don’t score a try in the tournament.
“I go into a game focusing on my defence, my kick-chase, my high ball. Those are the things I am guaranteed to get in a game.
“If the opportunity comes to score a try, that is my role in that moment for the team. We just need to win every game.”
Eddie Jones believes England have an edge over their World Cup rivals because of the steps taken to ensure they are ready to play in the sweltering heat and humidity of Japan.
Two training camps in Treviso, north-east Italy, in July and August followed by eight nights in Miyazaki have subjected the squad to the boiling conditions which they will encounter over the coming weeks.
Temperatures regularly top 30 degrees while the humidity level climbs above 60 per cent every day, but rather than be intimidated by the oppressive climate Jones sees it as a feature of the first Asian World Cup that can be exploited.
“We’re looking forward to playing in the humidity,” Jones said at England’s official arrival press conference on the island of Kyushu.
“We’ve prepared for it and it’s obviously a big part of rugby in Japan in September and October. We feel like playing in the humidity will give us an advantage.”
As coach of Japan four years ago, Jones took the Brave Blossoms to the same location for an extended training camp that helped produce the nation’s finest performance at a World Cup.
Although they narrowly failed to reach the quarter-finals, they stunned South Africa to stage the greatest upset in rugby history in a victory that had its origins in Miyazaki.
“I think I can still see some of the sweat of the players lying on the ground. It’s still there,” England’s head coach said.
“It’s a great place to train – great facilities, the weather’s fantastic, the food’s good and the people are friendly. It’s nice to come back here.
“The players have a number of opportunities to do different things. They can play golf, they’ve been down the beach. It’s a place where you can prepare to win and that’s why we came here.”
England landed in Tokyo on Monday and although their exit from Narita Airport was delayed by five hours due to the fallout from Typhoon Faxai, they have not encountered any further issues.
“The first part of the World Cup is always dependent on your travel. We had a vigorous travel schedule, but we’ve settled in well now and have got used to the conditions,” Jones said.
“Players have been out and about a bit. We’ve deliberately had quite an easy training week but we’ll increase that starting today (Saturday).
“The players have adjusted really well. We’re very positive and there’s a good feeling in the camp. Everyone is ready to start work now.
“We’ve actually had to pull players back because they wanted to work harder. We’ve had a variety of activities on and off the field.
“The players feel like they’ve adapted to the environment as well as they can and now they’re ready to begin the serious preparation for the World Cup.”
Jones confirmed that Mako Vunipola (hamstring) and Jack Nowell (ankle) will not be available until the key Pool C games against Argentina and France next month.
England open their World Cup title quest against Tonga on Sunday week and their Australian boss hopes they will gather some local fans.
“The Japanese love the All Blacks and that isn’t going to change, but I’m sure we’ll get our fair share of support,” Jones said.
“We’ll get some good support and it will make a difference because Japanese rugby crowds can be quite quiet. If we’ve got a number of people supporting us, it could make a difference.”
Wales’ World Cup stars received a home from home welcome when they arrived in Kitakyushu on Saturday.
Local schoolchildren, some wearing Wales shirts, welcomed the players, coaches and support staff at Kitakyushu Airport.
The Wales squad will spend six days in the southern Japanese city, continuing preparations ahead of their World Cup opener against Georgia on September 23.
Head coach Warren Gatland and captain Alun Wyn Jones were presented with flowers underneath a “Go, Go Wales” banner that spanned the arrivals hall as the city of just under one million population underlined its World Cup support.
Players signed autographs and posed for pictures on their way through arrivals, while Wales’ official World Cup arrival ceremony will take place in the city on Monday.
Kitakyushu was not among the 12 venues chosen to stage a World Cup game, so decided to show its backing for Wales in the tournament.
The Welsh Rugby Union, meanwhile, embarked on a legacy programme in Kitakyushu 18 months ago, which has included organising and running coaching and refereeing courses.
“We wanted to leave a legacy here,” said former Wales full-back and wing Rhys Williams, who has been closely involved with the project.
“We want to ensure that we’re helping to support growth of rugby in this area, as well as the growth of Welsh rugby in this area.
“When we leave, we are hoping we will have a lot more coaches, referees and people engaged in the sport so that rugby can thrive here.
“It has been an amazing partnership, and the city have worked really hard with us. This is the culmination of all that.”
Gatland is due to front his first pre-World Cup press conference in Japan on Sunday.
It comes amid the possibility that locks Adam Beard and Cory Hill could both be unavailable for the Georgia encounter in Toyota City.
Ospreys forward Beard is set to join the squad early next week after having his appendix removed in Wales.
And Beard’s second-row colleague Hill is continuing to recover from a stress fracture in his leg, with the second pool fixture against Australia on September 29 his stated initial target.
Wales hope that 23-year-old Beard will be available to face Georgia after being assessed on his arrival, it is understood.