Warburton optimistic over North

Date published: August 12 2015

Sam Warburton is confident team-mate George North will have benefited from his time off as he prepares for the World Cup.

The Welsh winger missed the last ten weeks of last season with a series of concussions but is in contention to return for the warm-up clash with Ireland in Dublin on August 29.

Given North's recent history, there is understandable concern about how he will fare on his return, but Wales skipepr Warburton believes the enforced rest will have done him good.

"It would be a huge blow if we lost him, but I think it's a bit of a blessing the break he's had," said Warburton.

"He came on the scene as one of the best wingers in the world straight away, and he has such high expectations from himself and people externally.

"So I think it's been good for him over the last few months. I think he'll come back hungrier than you've ever seen him before.

"He's been training really well from day one.

"Physically he's a freak and I never had any doubt he was going to miss the World Cup.

"He's one of our players who has got the X-factor.

"Every now and then you need a little break from the game, and I think this break will be good for him."