North looking long-term, inspired by Jenkins

Date published: December 23 2016

George North cited Gethin Jenkins as an example of how he hopes to be playing long into the future after his latest concussion.

North, 24, has been at the centre of a debate on concussion over the last few weeks after he was knocked unconscious but allowed to play on against Leicester Tigers for his club Northampton Saints.

Calls from certain quarters have suggested that North retire, but the Wales and Lions winger instead hopes to emulate his compatriot Jenkins by managing his body and still playing long into this career.

“Gethin’s body is in absolute tatters,” North told the┬áDaily Mail. “He should be in a home somewhere.

“As a young professional looking up to an older and more experienced professional, if I could have that level of professionalism towards the end of my career and still want to get out of bed in the morning and go again then that would be pretty amazing.

“Gethin is half-man, half-rehab. He does his extras and everything he needs to keep getting himself ready. If I can keep getting myself ready then I’ll always keep doing it.”

North did admit however that the strain of playing for multiple months on end eventually had an effect on his body at the end of last season.

“It’s like anything. When it’s good it’s good, when it’s bad, it’s bad. But it’s a sport, a job. It’s not going to change anyone’s life,” he added.

“With the World Cup year last year I came to a tally of 32 games in the end. People would not believe what you have to do from the beginning of pre-season to get from May all the way through to the next June.

“I finished up playing something like 13 and a half months consecutively until New Zealand in June when my hamstring went pop.

“I’m in a very fortunate position, which all sportsmen are in, that we play the sport we love for a living. But you very quickly realise there is so much more to it than just what you see on a Saturday. It can be a real slog.”