By Paul Jones
George North played is front of his son Jac for the first time, but other than that it was business as usual for Wales against the All Blacks.
Jac is two-and-ahalf years old, but he would have to be over 70 by this time next year to remember when Wales last beat New Zealand.
His father, now 30, the go-to Ospreys man, a two-times Lions tourist, has played 106 times for Wales – beaten England, Ireland, France, South Africa and Australia – but never the men in black.
Nor is he getting any nearer. Eight tries was the most Wales have conceded at home and 55 points equalled the record for the most Wales have leaked against the Kiwis.
“We had a slow start and then showed great fight to come back into it,” claimed North.
“But we just didn’t back that up. You’ve got to be on the money from minute one against sides like New Zealand.
“It was a mixed bag, really. The scoreline has its own story, but when you were in it, we felt like we were going toe to toe.
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏴 (@WelshRugbyUnion) October 24, 2020
“We fronted up on a number of occasions, but obviously let some easy tries in, which you can’t do at this level. They are a great outfit.”
Ireland, Argentina and France have all beaten the All Blacks recently, but Wales seem clueless and powerless and all they can do is hope they don’t meet them at next year’s World Cup.
So, for the rest of the Autumn Series, Wales will do what they always do after failing against New Zealand – dust themselves down, move on, and pretend it never happened.
“There were glimpses of some good rugby in there from us, but it is an 80-minute performance we need,” added North.
“We’ve come out pretty much unscathed, so physically we will be okay, we’ve just got to focus on pushing on.”
Next for Wales is the visit of Argentina who will fancy their chances if they watched the way Wales wilted to concede five tries in the second-half.
🔥 Rio Dyer on fire!! 🔥
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏴 (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 5, 2022
North may have started his Wales career as a wing, but he is loving teaming up with Nick Tompkins in the Welsh midfield. He may still be used on the wing for the Ospreys, but he is happy wearing the No 13 jersey for Wales.
“I guess I’m a cocktail. I enjoyed playing No 13 against New Zealand and I’m really excited at exploring that going forward,” he added.
“Nick and I have had a partnership in a few Tests now. It’s just about finding some consistency. “
It was Tompkins who created the pathway for Rio Dyer to crown his debut international with Wales’ first try against the All Blacks. North knows all about scoring tries, having touched down 43 times in his 106-cap career for Wales.
His first test, and a try to go with it, is huge. It was also great for Sam Costelow to come on as well for his first cap because he’s been playing some amazing rugby for the Scarlets.
“New Zealand had a game before this game to iron out anything, whereas we went straight into it. There were glimpses of some good rugby in there from us, but it is an 80-minute performance we need.
“We’ve just got to focus on pushing on.”