Josh Adams is taking inspiration from George North as he prepares to keep Wales on track for a crack at the Six Nations title.
Adams was the instigator of Wales’ remarkable comeback victory in Paris last Friday as his scintillating second-half break paved the way for a Tomos Williams try and the first step in overcoming a 16-0 deficit.
But as the 23-year-old Worcester wing gets ready to face Italy in Rome this weekend, he says it is the long-term example of North – and his impact on the national team for over eight seasons – that he is looking to emulate.
North’s second-half try double helped Wales complete the biggest fightback in Five or Six Nations history when they finally overcame France 24-19 four days ago.
It put the Lions wing fourth on the all-time Five and Six Nations try list, and just four touchdowns short of equalling Gareth Thomas’s 40 for Wales.
And he is likely to relish Saturday’s appointment with Italy, given that he has scored eight tries against them from eight starts.
“George has had a fantastic international career,” Adams said at Wales’ week-long base in Nice.
“He had his first cap at 18, he’s 26 now and won 80 caps. It’s fantastic. We are room-mates out here. He’s a top lad, and we get on well.
“When I first came into the Wales camp, he was one of the first guys who came up to me and congratulated me and said anything I needed to know he was always there.
“He is a brilliant role model for any young Welsh winger or back to take inspiration from.”
Wales have trained in glorious sunshine on the Cote d’Azur as they began their build-up to a game that could see them equal a record that has stood since 1910.
They are chasing an 11th successive victory against all opponents, which would match Wales’ all-time best run set between 1907 and 1910 that included two Four Nations Grand Slams.
Until the Paris turnaround, though, Wales were staring at a first defeat for almost 12 months when Ireland toppled them in Dublin.
Adams added: “We all came in bitterly disappointed after the first half – 16 points down, away from home, in France, anybody else watching that match would probably have thought it was game over.
“But we knew as a team we were far from our best. We all knew what went wrong, and there was no ranting and raving.
“Warren (Gatland) could see that we understood what needed to be done in the second half.
“I think we showed on Friday in the second half that we can control a game well.”
Wales have not lost to Italy during Gatland’s coaching reign, reeling off 12 successive victories against the Azzurri and there was a positive fitness bulletin issued by Wales skills coach Neil Jenkins on Monday.
“We have come through with no serious injuries, and I would say everyone will be alright for Saturday,” Jenkins said.
“‘Gats wanted to take the squad away, and with these two games away, having had Friday night in Paris followed by Italy in Rome on Saturday, we have treated it like a mini World Cup trip.
“Winning in Paris is no mean feat, as we all know. But Italy in Rome is a different kettle of fish to playing Italy at home, so they will certainly come at us and it will be a very tough Test match, but I would like to think we will be more than ready.”
Gatland is due to name his team ahead of departure for Rome on Thursday.
Changes are likely, which could include opportunities in the match-day 23 for Leicester back Jonah Holmes and Wasps flanker Thomas Young, among others.