England wing Jonny May revealed he was in awe of U.S. sprint star English Gardner after he spent two weeks at former Olympian Michael Johnson's Performance Centre in Texas.
May, 28, part-funded his second trip to the McKinney-based facility, having first visited in 2016 after he tore his ACL the previous year. Though May has yet to meet Johnson, Gardner left a lasting impression on the Leicester Tigers star.
"It was awesome for me to meet her [Gardner] because when I did my knee two years ago, the surgeon said it was touch and go whether I'd come back at the same speed," May told reporters.
"People say you lose five percent [of your speed] after an ACL. I was trawling though the internet to find people who have had the same injury. She blew her knee out just before she went to college. She had all her scholarships taken away and then within 13 months ran the record and now she's one of the fastest women in the world.
"She definitely inspired me. Her dad is her coach, so I had a few chats with him. It was nice to meet them and she's a role model for us. Last season I was definitely running quicker than ever. Working at my speed is something that I'm committed to."
May is part of Eddie Jones' latest preseason training camp ahead of a season that will go a long way to deciding who features in his plans for next year's World Cup in Japan.
May was a part of the squad that crashed out of the last edition of the tournament at the pool stage, but he believes that this squad won't be overawed when the occasion comes around again.
"It is a big year isn't," May added. "It's nice to get excited and let's make it brings the best out of us. It's not something to burden us or to stress us out.
"It's something to get excited about. That's something that we have to find out within us. Like I said, that's a long way away so it's just about being the best we can be and getting in the squad more than anything else.
"That is a challenge isn't it? Trying not to get too overwhelmed with the challenges ahead or down about the results. That's a constant challenge but that's something we're definitely getting better at."