‘The boys are champing at the bit’ – George North

Adam Kyriacou

George North has said Wales are “champing at the bit” ahead of their Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa in Yokohama on Sunday.

North admitted he would struggle to find the right words if Wales reach their first Rugby World Cup final with victory over the Springboks.

North’s international career started as an 18-year-old against the Springboks in 2010, when he marked his Wales debut by scoring two tries.

Since then, he has been part of Six Nations wins and Grand Slam successes for his country, as well as a World Cup semi-final defeat in 2011.

And as he prepares to win his 91st cap, North knows the magnitude of Sunday’s occasion.

“I don’t think my vocabulary is good enough to describe that!” North said, when asked about the possibility of a World Cup final.

“Obviously, 2011 was incredible, 2015 we were one step off where we are now and, from our point of view, the boys are just raring to go.

“We know the challenges facing us, we know how well South Africa are playing and the impact they’ve had, and I think it will be massive.

“I think this one has got a better feeling about it (than 2011).

“From our point of view, we are chuffed to be here, thrilled to be one of the last four standing.

“In 2011 we went into it as a bit of an unknown and got there by sheer determination and belief.

“The most annoying thing now is just waiting for the game. The boys are champing at the bit to get involved, get in the mixer and get playing.”

Wales have beaten South Africa in five of the their last six meetings, including four successive victories.

Asked about his own form ahead of another tilt at the Springboks, North added: “Mixed, if I’m honest.

“Obviously this is the biggest stage and where you want to be playing your best rugby.

“I’ve not been playing badly, but not to where I want to be. But to see where we are now in a semi-final and to be part of it is something special.

“So from my point of view we’ve just got to stay positive, keep grafting and hopefully I will get a few more touches.

“These are the games that you do all the hard graft for, the months of preparation, the altitude camps, the heat camps, every other camp we’ve been on up until now.

“To get to a semi-final is massive. It’s certainly one of the biggest games of my career and my life. Hopefully, we can go out and perform and have an even bigger one next week.”