'The way we're playing at the club isn't helping me'- Wales' George North looks forward to Six Nations escape
Apparently non-plussed by Northampton’s direct style of play, George North has said he’s relieved to be back in the more stimulating confines of the Wales camp for the upcoming Six Nations.
Now in his third season at the Saints, the bulldozing winger has sent a not so subtle shot across the bow at his club and director of rugby Jim Mallinder, regarding the manner in which his undoubted talents are being utilised.
“For me it would be nice to step away from Northampton now, get a different stimulus," North told Wales Online.“Wales want to play a quick game and an open game and that suits me down to the ground.
“I want to be on the wing, I want to have that space to run at people and have the opportunity, rather than carrying straight into a (defensive) wall. Sometimes you need to be that guy, which I don’t mind doing but, when you’ve got the opportunity to have 50 metres of space and you can open the taps, there’s nothing better in the world than doing that.”
Furthermore, the 23-year-old Lion went on to say that his rugby intellect is stagnating at the club who currently lay sixth in the Aviva Premiership, and that a prolonged period in the national set-up will be enlivening.
It is a shade ironic, though, given Gatland’s approach or ‘Warren-Ball’ has oft been criticised for being predicated on hulking backs running straight, hard routes in bid to smash their way over the gain-line.
“It’s difficult, because the way we’re playing at the club isn’t really helping my game. I prefer a bit more of an open game, bit more broken play and freedom.”
Of course, North will be a key figure if Wales are to confirm their position as the consensus favourites to win this year’s tournament.
The first step in that quest comes at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, with Welsh seeking consecutive Championship victories over Joe Schmidt’s three-in-a-row chasing charges. North noted the size of the task to come, but was adamant that Wales can prevail.
“We’ve got great history in the Six Nations post-World Cup year. Hopefully we can continue that. Why not start in Dublin? It’s going to be a big one. We all know what Ireland are like when they get together and they get playing well. They’re a massive force to stop.”