Saturday 16 December 2017

Only way is up for north

George North was "quite shocked" to discover he had claimed a place in the Rugby World Cup record books during Wales' rout of Namibia at Stadium Taranaki, WRITES Andrew Baldock.

The powerful Scarlets wing scored two of his team's 12 tries in an 81-7 Pool D success as Wales moved closer towards securing a quarter-final place. In doing so, he eclipsed former Australian star Joe Roff as the youngest player to claim a World Cup touchdown.

At 19 years and 166 days, North is 87 days younger than when ex-Wallabies wing Roff scored during the 1995 tournament in South Africa.

"I am quite shocked," said North. "It is awesome, a giant honour. If I can do that for my country (equal Roff's 86 caps), I will retire a happy man."

North once again underlined his ability as a devastating finisher and game-breaker, starring off the bench in the second half of a game when Wales scored nine tries and 59 points.

Wales coach Warren Gatland will hope to reunite North and Shane Williams as the wings against Fiji in Hamilton on Sunday, although injury might prevent that as Williams is suffering from a quad muscle strain.

"Shane is one of my heroes," said North of Wales' record international try-scorer. "It's quite weird playing in the same team as him now. There is nothing I can give to him to improve his game, but he has plenty to give to me."

Wales -- L Byrne; L Halfpenny, J Davies, S Williams, A Brew (G North 54); S Jones (J Priestland 62), T Knoyle (L Williams 57); G Jenkins (R Bevington 61), L Burns (K Owens 61), C Mitchell, B Davies, AW Jones, R Jones, S Warburton (capt, A Powell 48), T Faletau (L Charteris 56).

Irish Independent

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