Rugby

3 magic George North moments ahead of final Wales appearance

The 31-year-old will make his 121st and final Wales appearance on Saturday.

George North has starred for Wales for nearly 14 years
George North George North has starred for Wales for nearly 14 years (David Davies/PA)

George North has announced that he will retire from international rugby following Wales’ Guinness Six Nations game against Italy on Saturday.

It will be his 121st and final Wales appearance during a career that saw him help his country win four Six Nations titles, including two Grand Slams, play in four World Cups and go on two British and Irish Lions tours.

Here, the PA news agency recalls three of North’s finest moments.

Wales v South Africa – November 13, 2010

George North made an explosive debut against South Africa
George North George North made an explosive debut against South Africa (David Jones/PA)

North was just 18 years old when Wales head coach Warren Gatland handed him a Test debut against South Africa in Cardiff.

North had produced some blistering form for his regional team the Scarlets, and he simply carried that with him into the international arena.

A thrilling game ultimately went South Africa’s way, but North announced his arrival as a star-in-the-making by scoring two tries opposite revered Springboks wing Bryan Habana.

He was the largely unknown quantity in a Wales team that featured the likes of Shane Williams, James Hook, Alun Wyn Jones and Martyn Williams, but he could not have made a greater impact.

Australia v Lions – June 22, 2013

George North scored a try in his first Lions Test
George North George North scored a try in his first Lions Test (David Davies/PA)

North’s progression for Wales made him an obvious choice for the 2013 British and Irish Lions’ tour of Australia, and he did not disappoint.

He made his presence felt early in the first Test in Brisbane, scoring a stunning solo try that showcased the 6ft 4in wing’s pace and power as he brushed aside Wallabies defenders Pat McCabe and James O’Connor.

It was a highlight of the Lions’ 23-21 victory, while a week later in the Melbourne-staged second Test, North provided another memorable moment when he tackled Israel Folau by effectively picking the Australia wing up and carrying him.

George North made a big impact on the 2013 Lions tour
George North and Isreal Falaou George North made a big impact on the 2013 Lions tour (David Davies/PA)

France v Wales – February 1, 2019

Wales began their 2019 Six Nations campaign with a Friday night encounter against France in Paris, and it looked bleak for the visitors when they trailed 16-0 at half-time.

North, though, proved the catalyst of a remarkable turnaround.

He pounced on a dreadful defensive error by France wing Yoann Huget to touch down and put Wales back in contention, then he intercepted France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina’s pass to speed away and leave Les Bleus crestfallen.

Wales went on to win the Six Nations title and a Grand Slam.