George North – ‘Wales working better for me’

Date published: November 7 2018

George North says his game has benefited from returning to Wales to play his rugby with the Ospreys after five years with Northampton Saints.

North left Scarlets for Saints in 2013 but returned to the Ospreys in the summer, scoring five tries in six games since making the move back home.

His electric form for the Swansea outfit prompted Warren Gatland to recall him to the national side and North repaid the faith by scoring a magnificent individual effort against Scotland last Saturday, shrugging off four defenders on his way over the chalk.

And the 26-year-old says he is in a better mental and physical condition than he has been in for a long time.

“I think you can tell by the way my body language is on the field, the way I’m playing – it’s working better for me,” North told BBC Sport.

The British and Irish Lions wing is on a National Dual Contract (NDC), which means the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) pays 60 percent of his salary and Ospreys the rest.

And North explained how he viewed the differences between the Premiership and PRO14.

“It’s completely different. The Premiership is its own beast and it’s been well-documented, the fact it’s such a big business and it draws huge crowds and it is amazing,” North said.

“Coming back to Wales was a bit more of the bigger-picture decision; where I want to be and where I was at the time, and want to go.

“Coming back has given me that snapshot in a small window already. It’s allowed me to have a proper off-season, it’s allowing me to have a full pre-season.

“Sometimes internationally you come back from tour, you have two or three weeks to get yourself ready for another season.

“It’s difficult to do that and then (being back in Wales) it’s allowing me to play a couple of games on the bounce, have rotation week (not playing) and then do a bit of conditioning to get back up to where I need to be and then go back to my work.

“We are creatures of habit, so we want to play, but it’s knowing you don’t win championships and titles in November time; you win them at the end of the year.

“It’s just given me a bit more freedom to take care of myself to do the best for me, but also to do the best for the region and then for the country and it’s allowing me to play the rugby I know I can get back to.”