Wednesday 28 September 2016

North proves smash hit for Wales again

Wales 27 Scotland 23

James Corrigan

Published 15/02/2016 | 02:30

Dan Biggar of Wales kicks a conversion. Photo: Reuters
Dan Biggar of Wales kicks a conversion. Photo: Reuters
Wales’ Gareth Davies (right) celebrates his try with George North. Photo: PA
Jamie Roberts celebrates scoring Wales second try. Photo: PA

Indignation often follows relief and Wales go into this Six Nations break adamant that there are plenty of positives to extract from two weekends during which they hardly fired but after which they are three wins away from their third Championship title in five years.

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The purists were focusing on the prosaic plus-points of the transformed Welsh set-pieces, but it was the try-scoring return of a certain 6ft 5in, 17st flyer that grabbed the attention.

No doubt, Jamie Roberts made the most sizeable contribution to this, their ninth victory in succession over their fellow Celts. And in this sort of unstoppable form, the monstrous centre will carry Welsh hopes into the definitive collisions against France and England.

However, they will also be shouldered by George North, 23, whose moment had the feeling of a rebirth of a scoring giant. Once crossing the whitewash came so easily, but in the past few years the runs and touchdowns have dried up.

But in the 70th minute - six minutes after Roberts had piled over with the finesse of a sledgehammer to give Wales a 20-16 lead - North was given the ball in space. Within a few seconds and many staggering strides, he made the Scottish defence look like they were trying out for Madame Tussauds.

"Yeah, he's got a bit of stick from the boys," Gareth Davies, the scrum-half, revealed. "Why? Well, wingers should be scoring tries, shouldn't they? It was a fantastic try and it's great to have him back finishing like that.

"Hopefully, the drought's over for George and he'll keep scoring for the rest of the season." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

WALES - Liam Williams; North, J Davies, Roberts, James (Anscombe 65); Biggar (Priestland ), G Davies; Evans (Jenkins 47), Baldwin (Owens 47), Lee (Francis 68), Charteris (B Davies 47), AW Jones, Warburton (capt), Tipuric (Lydiate 61), Faletau

SCOTLAND - Hogg (Jackson 28); Seymour, Bennett, Taylor, Lamont; Russell (Weir 68), Laidlaw (Hidalgo‑Clyne 77); Dickinson (Reid 65), Ford (McInally 65), Nel, R Gray, J Gray (Swinson 68), Barclay, Hardie, Denton

REF - G Clancy (Ireland)

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