George North

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For other uses, see George North (disambiguation).
George North
George North.jpg
Date of birth (1992-04-13) 13 April 1992 (age 24)
Place of birth King's Lynn, Norfolk
Height 1.94 m (6 ft 4 12 in)
Weight 109 kg (17 st 2 lb)
School Llandovery College
Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Wing / Outside Centre
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Northampton Saints
correct as of 11 September 2016.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)

Wales U16
Wales U18
British and Irish Lions


correct as of 11th June 2016.

George Philip North (born 13 April 1992) is a Welsh and British and Irish Lions international rugby union player. His usual position is winger but he has also played at centre. He currently plays club rugby for Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership.

Early life[edit]

North was born in 1992 in King's Lynn. His mother is Welsh and from Anglesey, Wales, and his father is English and from Yorkshire. The family returned to Anglesey when he was aged two and he is a fluent Welsh language speaker.[1] Educated at Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern on Anglesey and later at Llandovery College in West Wales, he played as a junior for Llangefni, Pwllheli, Rhyl and Gogledd Cymru under-16s.[2]

Up to the point of his international call-up, North had played six matches for the Scarlets first team, a record restricted by an injury.[3]

International career[edit]

After an impressive start to the 2010 season, in October 2010, he was selected to the 33 man squad for the Autumn international series.[1][2] On 11 November 2010 North was named in the Wales team to face South Africa on 13 November, making him the joint third youngest player to represent Wales behind Tom Prydie and Norman Biggs and equal to Evan Williams.[4]

North made an impressive start to his international career on 13 November 2010 in a match against the reigning World Champions, by scoring two tries for Wales as they lost to South Africa 29–25 in the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales.[5] He set a number of Welsh and international records in the match:[6]

  • North, aged 18 years, 214 days, became the youngest player ever to score a try in his debut for Wales. The previous record holder was Tom Pearson, who was aged 18 years, 238 days when he scored against England in 1891.
  • He also became the youngest player to have scored two tries in his debut[citation needed], with the opposition being a major rugby nation. (The only younger player to have scored two or more tries in his debut was Gustavo Jorge of Argentina, who was not yet 18 when he scored six tries in his debut in 1989—but the Pumas' opponent was Brazil, who have never qualified for the World Cup.)
  • He also became the youngest player ever to have scored two tries against a major rugby nation, whether on his debut or not. The previous record holder was James O'Connor of Australia, who was aged 18 years, 343 days when he scored a hat-trick against Italy in 2009. (Taylor Paris of Canada turned 18 in October 2010 and scored two tries in his second appearance against Spain on the same day as North's debut, but Spain is also not considered a major rugby nation, although they have qualified for one World Cup.)

Following his international debut at the 2010 end-of-year tests, North soon became a regular fixture for Wales in their starting XV. He was not picked to play for Wales for most of the 2011 Six Nations as Warren Gatland generally opted for more experienced wingers Shane Williams and Morgan Stoddart, however during the final weekend of the tournament North was given his opportunity to start on the left wing against France, as Williams was not picked to play and Stoddart was on the replacements bench.

2011 Rugby World Cup[edit]

After Morgan Stoddart suffered a broken leg during a world cup warm-up match against England, North was called up as a first-choice winger for Wales for the 2011 Rugby World Cup held in New Zealand. He started on the left wing for Wales' first Pool D match against South Africa, which they narrowly lost by a score of 17-16 against the reigning world champions. North again started on the wing against Samoa and then came on as a replacement in the 55th minute against Namibia, scoring two tries in the latter. He then started against Fiji, scoring a try.

Wales finished second in their pool, winning all but their first game, and advanced to the quarter-finals. They played Ireland in their quarter-final game, where North started (this time on the right wing), with Wales winning by 22 points to 10. They went on to face France in the semi-finals, but lost by a score of 8-9, with North again on the right wing. The match included a controversial moment in the 19th minute where the Welsh captain Sam Warburton was red-carded for a tip-tackle against Vincent Clerc, meaning Wales played the remainder of the game with a one-man disadvantage.

Post 2011 Rugby World Cup[edit]

After the world cup, North continued in his place as a regular starter for Wales. His performances during the 2012 and 2013 Six Nations championships were instrumental in the team winning both tournaments, taking the grand slam in 2012 and losing only their opening match against Ireland in 2013. North started every game for Wales in both Six Nations tournaments.

North also played regularly for Wales during the Autumn internationals at the end of each year, where various teams from outside Europe (often the top southern hemisphere nations of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina) tour to the UK to play the home nations in official test matches.

2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia[edit]

He was named as part of the Lions squad for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.

On 22 June 2013 in Brisbane, North scored the first Lions try vs Australia; a fantastic run from inside his own 10m line beating 4 players.[7] However, North's celebration was slightly over exuberant and he later apologised, saying he felt 'horrendous' after making a triumphant gesture towards Will Genia.[8] The Lions went on to win the First Test 23-21.

On 29 June 2013, North carried out a 'fireman's lift' manoeuvre on Australia's Israel Folau whilst running with the ball in the Second Test between the Lions and Australia in Melbourne, injuring himself in the process as the Lions went down to a 16-15 defeat.

On 6 July 2013, in Sydney, North scored his fourteenth international Test try and his second Lions Test try as the Lions sealed a 2-1 series win over Australia with a 41-16 victory.

Post 2013[edit]

North competed for Wales during the 2014 Six Nations, where the team had a relatively disappointing campaign winning 3 of their 5 games (they lost to Ireland and England) and finishing 3rd in the championship standings. North started all five matches, including a switch to outside centre against France, with Wales hoping that North's size and strength would make him an adequate opponent against the 19-stone frame of Mathieu Bastareaud, who was starting in the same position for Les Bleus. The plan worked, as Wales won 27-6, with North scoring a try after 5 minutes of play.

North played 4 out of 5 games for Wales during the 2015 Six Nations, only missing the match against Scotland in the second round, due to a concussion he suffered against England in their first round match.

2015 Rugby World Cup[edit]

For the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Wales found themselves in Pool A. North played in all but one of Wales' pool matches.

Wales advanced to the quarter-finals to face South Africa at Twickenham, where North started on the left wing.


North played for Wales during the 2016 Six Nations, scoring tries against Scotland, France, England and Italy.

Northampton Saints[edit]


On 9 April 2013 it was confirmed that North would sign for Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership for a reported fee of over £200,000. This announcement followed the Welsh Rugby Union claiming that Scarlets had attempted selling North to French clubs, which they had denied.[9]

He scored his first Northampton Saints try against Sale Sharks after some excellent work by Jamie Elliott to make the score 12-0 in a game that finished 33-14 to Northampton. He scored his first Heineken Cup try for Saints on 14 December against Leinster Rugby.


North began the season well by scoring 3 tries on the opening night of the Premiership season against Gloucester Rugby.[citation needed]


North suffered a blow to the head whilst playing for Wales in November 2014, however it was not deemed serious and he continued to train and ready himself for the 2015 season.

During Wales' opening match of the 2015 Six Nations tournament against England on 6 February, North suffered an injury when his head made contact with the foot of Dave Attwood. North was taken off the field in the 31st minute for a concussion test and returned to the field in the 38th minute having passed the checks. However he then collapsed during play in the 61st minute, after a knock from another player re-triggered the concussion and he fell to the ground. He regained composure and played the remainder of the match, but the effects were clear for all to see and he was rested for the next match against Scotland.

North then suffered another head injury during an Aviva Premiership game against Wasps on 27 March, where his head made contact with the foot of Nathan Hughes whilst North was scoring a try, knocking him unconscious. Hughes received a controversial red card for the incident and North was stretchered off the field. A subsequent consultation with a neurologist resulted in North being ordered to rest and he spent several months without playing any rugby, to give his brain time to fully recover.

He recovered in time to play for Wales in the 2015 Rugby World Cup which began on 18 September.

Following these high-profile head injuries and the resulting time North spent on the sidelines during the middle of 2015, calls were made for World Rugby to review the checks made to a player who may have suffered a head clash during a game.

Personal life[edit]

North's long-term girlfriend is British Olympic cyclist Becky James.[10]


  1. ^ a b Paul Rees (11 November 2010). "Wales turn to 18-year-old George North to face South Africa". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-11-13. 
  2. ^ a b "BBC - Early Wales cap for Scarlets winger George North". BBC News. 2010-11-12. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  3. ^ Rob Griffiths (16 September 2010). "North Walian youngster George North shining for Scarlets". Daily Post. Retrieved 2010-11-13. 
  4. ^ Davies, Sean (2010-11-13). "George North makes Wales debut". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  5. ^ "Boks hold on for victory". Planet Rugby. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  6. ^ Richards, Huw (2010-11-19). "A record-breaking debut". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  7. ^ "Lions 2013: George North's wonder-try was one of the best ever scored, says Sir Ian McGeechan". London: Daily Telegraph. 2013-06-23. Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  8. ^ "Lions 2013: George North feels 'horrendous' for try-scoring gesture". The Guardian. London. 2013-06-28. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "BBC Sport - George North: Northampton sign Scarlets and Wales wing". 2013-04-09. Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  10. ^ Mears, Tyler (8 March 2016). "Star cyclist Becky James opens up on her return to the sport after cancer scare – and rugby international boyfriend George North". Wales Online. Retrieved 13 August 2016. 

External links[edit]