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George North Admits Fiji Have Thrown A Spanner In The Works . . . But The Red Machine Won’t Stall

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By Paul Jones

George North believes Wales are in a very good place going into round three of the World Cup in France.

The Ospreys centre scored his 46th try for Wales, and his 48th in Test rugby, in the win over Fiji and is ready to try to add to the two tries he has scored for Wales against the Wallabies in Lyon on Sunday.

If selected it will be his 16th appearance against the Aussies for Wales and the British & Irish Lions.

“If anyone had said beforehand, ‘You’ll have 10 points from the first two games’ we’d have ripped their hand off,” said North.

“Obviously, the Australia result against Fiji has put a spanner in the works for everyone, so it’s a massive game for us and we have to go out and win it on Sunday – the boys are champing at the bit.”

As the most capped player in the squad with 115 caps for Wales and three more for the Lions, the former teenage sensation, who became the youngest player to score at the World in New Zealand in 2011, is now a player who everyone in the Wales squad looks up to.

He has already experienced two fourth place finishes at the World Cup and can point to a Bronze final defeat to the Wallabies in 2011 and a win over them in Japan the last time the two teams meet four years ago.

“The advice we’ve been passing onto the youngsters in the squad has been don’t change what you’ve been doing,” added North.

“The message has been clear from us that we take every game, every week, as it comes – focus fully on what’s coming. You’re here for a reason and the way you’ve been playing has got you that jersey, so don’t change anything.

“The quality we’ve got is really showing and it pushes us every day. Everyone’s had a chance now so it will come down to the boss man (head coach Warren Gatland) to decide what he wants to do.”

Having never failed to reach the knock-out stage at his three previous World Cups, North admits that securing a quarter-final place would be “a weight off the shoulders.”

He has also been delighted to have had his family around him in France to help boost performance.

“It’s been lush. Having my two young boys, my wife and my parents here has been great,” he added.

“I’m a big believer in you have to switch off to switch on at rugby. The requirements of you every day, physically and emotionally, is tough, so to be able to have that time with your family is great.

“It has been nice for my kids to see what it means and where dad goes.”

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