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Thursday, March 29, 2012

George North beats Alex Cuthbert to set up great Scarlets try

Star Welsh winger George North made his return to the Scarlets this past weekend and proved vital in their win over the Cardiff Blues, as he came on late in the match and showed more of his Six Nations form to set up a lovely try.

North, still just 19 years old and already having racked up 21 Test caps, came off the bench and made his impact immediately. His strength and balance saw him burst through the tackle of Welsh wing team mate Alex Cuthbert, which allowed him to pop the ball to flying lock Dominic Day.

It was 19-14 to the Scarlets at the time, so it proved to be a decisive try in their 26-14 win.

Cuthbert had a mixed game as he made some awful mistakes, but then on occasion provided moments of magic, including an intercept try. North got the last laugh though, and one up on the lanky Blues winger with this strong run.

North is a serious contender for the British & Irish Lions tour of Australia next year, and is arguably the most exciting young winger in world rugby right now. The Scarlets have done well to hang onto him, and earlier this week he stated that he's not going anywhere.

"I'm very happy down at the Scarlets at the moment," he told the BBC.

"I'm getting game time on the pitch and at my age that's what you want to get, a bit more exposure and experience out there. I can't see myself going elsewhere right now. I'm enjoying my rugby in Wales. I'm there for two years now. So happy days really."

This try may not be mindblowingly amazing as there was a straight missed tackle, but many of you will be keen to see the one-on-one between the two Welsh wingers, and of course more of North in action. The support play from second rower Day is nothing to be scoffed at either.

Posted by Rugbydump at 7:27 pm | View Comments (29)

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Viewing 29 comments

Jimothy March 29, 2012 10:01 pm

Wouldn't say he's the best winger in the Northern Hemisphere I'd say he is probably the best winger in the world at the moment. Before people start going off about this player and that, remember this is my opinion and not fact.

At 19 I think he is a very, very exciting player to watch and is probably one of the only players (minus Sam 'dump tackle' Warburton) who is guaranteed a place on the Lions tour.

My only problem with him is that, unlike Ben Morgan, he chose the wrong country :) I hope he has a long and exciting career as it is players like him that can light up a game!

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browner November 13, 2012 3:47 am

Somehow the notion that you can chose country's doesn't sit right.

North should move to 30 yards across the border, serve out his 3 year residency [pathetic & needs to change] & reap the commercial benefits of being English international....which will out earn x10 fold over the next 5 years til he's injured out of the game !!

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Dave March 29, 2012 10:37 pm

He's some man for just one man. Great speed, skills and power. If he keeps it up, nailed on for the Lions Tour.

Ferris, Warburton, Phillips ... can't see others being nailed on. Maybe Richie Gray.

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C Costa March 30, 2012 3:48 am

Compare the 6 nations that phillips had with any of the other 9's. only connor murray could compete but still not enough i guess. and i liked when i saw mike blair playing, I thought he was great.

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Dave March 30, 2012 1:05 pm

Simply because I think he was the best scrum half in the tournament. That's not saying he's incredible, but none of the others really did enough to get near him. Murray hasn't the experience, but may mature more, Blair was decent and may have done more behind a more forward facing pack, but for me Phillips is the best of a good but not fantastic field.

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EnglishBok March 29, 2012 10:50 pm

Would i choose George North and Alex Cuthbert over every other winger eligible for the Lions team?

hhmm... yes i would!

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Full Back April 16, 2012 9:40 am

You'd choose Cuthbert above Bowe? I'd say you're one of a few to be honest

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The Green Mafia March 30, 2012 2:34 am

Dave, I think Richie Gray must be a shoe in for n4. Also think one Mr Rob Kearney will feel hard done not to be included in you "must" list.

The most exciting thing now will be the battle of the 10s. Sexton, Priestland, Farrel... Even that midget from Scotland who managed to inject some pace and X Factor in a team that is, at times, very one dimentional on offense

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Dave March 30, 2012 1:10 pm

You're probably right about Gray, he had an animal tournament. Even if just for the try against us (Ireland). :-)

As for Rob Kearney ... yeah, it's 50/50 between him and Halfpenny. I'd personally pick Kearney since I think he offers more solidity at the back and his counterattacking has come on leaps and bounds this year. If we have a 10 that is having a good kicking-at-goal game, then Kearney. But Halfpenny offers that extra goal kicker if needed and with Gatland as coach, I can see him getting the nod since he'll be playing with a lot of the Welsh backline. I suppose Gatlands bias for first team will be with Halfpenny and mine would be with Kearney. Nailed on for the plane, yes, nailed on for a starting spot? 50/50.

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C Costa March 30, 2012 3:44 am

Is there any competition for 12? I can't see anyone but roberts there

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Autodidactical March 30, 2012 7:07 am

Depends if Tuilagi is considered a 12 or 13 by the Lions management. Surely he'll go as a centre and if Roberts is injured I can't see a better option currently. Just wish he'd learn how to pass...

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browner November 13, 2012 3:55 am

His development as a Junior rugby player was ... catch it & run like a bull...especially as a winger at Hinckley rfc

It'll take 5 years to coach footwork, kiddology play & decision making into him, & it may never happen

sadly ......

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Hans March 30, 2012 10:37 am

What about O'Brien? Okay, he was lacking form during Six Nations but if he gets back to his best, he is not worse than Warburton, is he?

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WelshOsprey March 30, 2012 1:17 pm

lol o'brien is a terrible openside he has no chance against a solid all-rounder like warburton
wouldn't mind seeing him at no8 though

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Dave March 30, 2012 3:52 pm

He's not an openside, despite being played there. He's a 6.

Likewise, he's not an 8, though could do a better job there than at 7. Plus, you've Heaslip who is showing signs of being back to his best form in the last few months. If he plays, it should be at 6.

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mndpsp1 March 30, 2012 11:22 am

Imagine Roberts and Tuilagi in the centers? Up against James O'Connor who ever else Deans puts in center for the Wallabies. They would TROUNCE the Wallabies back line.
Can't wait for next years Lions tour.
Surely George North, Sam Warburton, Stephen Ferris, Richie Gray, Mike Phillips, Rob Kearny have sealed their spots!
What about Leigh Halfpenny? Not the BEST full-back (coming from a Welshman) out there, but has a solid boot, probably the best out there during the 6 nations. Just talking about this makes me excited, the Lions will have a solid team next year.

And of course, nice run George!

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Lorcan March 30, 2012 1:12 pm

Jonathan Davies had a stormer all Tournament, solid player, great vision and doesn't rush out of the line leaving gaps like a certain Mr. Tuilagi. Sure Manu can hit hard, but if he hits hard 1 out of every 7 defensive line push ups and the other times he misses his man or the offload comes, well that's the kind of space you don't want to give a Wallaby Back Line.....thoughts?

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nathan March 30, 2012 3:25 pm

Tuilagi used to be like that, but he's improved immensely in that area.

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moddeur March 30, 2012 4:42 pm

Gatland has sure added an SH touch to Welsh rugby, now everyone in the team is over 100kg (apart from Halfpenny), and this of course includes wingers North and Cuthbert, who albeit talented, also depend on their team to score tries (unless they exchange favours to do so, as in this video here where Cuthbert lets North through). The problem with heavy wingers is that they often get injured at some early point, and after that it's all downhill. I hope North will be ok, he's got many good years ahead of him, but I'm an optimist with experience (a pessimist).

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The Green Mafia March 30, 2012 4:51 pm

At Dave:

Now I think of it, don'tthink I agree with you on George North being THE best winger in the world, atm. One of the best, surelly, but Hosea Gear, Cory Jane, Digby Ioane (yes, even if suspended) and, I never thought I'd say this, but the guy seems to be coming back to form, Bryan Habana seem to deserve being in the mix. Then you have Savea, Nanai-Williams, Kahui who are improving too. But North remains a beast and one that can surelly become THE best in the world. To think hes 19!

Also, whatare your thoughts on a lions Starting XV? I know it seems easy to pull an almost full welsh squad, but try.

Knowing that the Lions usually imply a bit of role shifting, Id go:

1. Gething Jenkins
2. Rory Best/Huw Bennet
3. Alex Corbisiero
4. Richie Gray
5. Bradley Davies
6. Dan Lydiate (probably my 1st choice, but also other claims)/Stephen Ferris/Chris Robshaw
7. Sam Warburton (1st choice, but...)/Tom Croft
8. Toby Faletau/Ben Morgan (Impressed, but not enough game time)
9. Mike Phillips (Thought Lee Dickson or Lloyd Williams should also tour)
10. Owen Farrel (his boot means Kearney at 15) /Rhys Priestland and Sexton as backup (Farrel is still a kid. Sexton seems more balanced than "occasional brain-hemorrage" Priestland)
11. George North (no brainer)
12. Jamie Roberts
13. Manu Tuilagui (Huge center pairing, punching holes in Oz all day long)
14. Alex Cuthbert
15. Rob Kearney (Halfpenny in the bench, as cover for the back-three)

Hurray, managed to only include 9 to 11 Welsh in the lineup. Sorry, but they are just fantastic at the moment and are the only Team at the moment to have what the Lions really need, their biggest weakness: Conditioning and Teamplay. It just seems easier to fit the standouts from the other teams in a core that is performing incredibly, considering the limited time the Lions have to gel

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Dave March 30, 2012 8:11 pm

Um, I didn't say he was the best in the world. Just that he's nailed on for the Lions Tour if he keeps up current form. I'm not familiar enough with Southern Hemisphere rugby to make that kind of claim (and I wouldn't even if I was, I suspect).

As for the Lions squad, I'd agree with a lot of what you have there. Can't see past that front row, even if Best/Bennett at hooker isn't as strong as I'd like.

Only changes might be:

6. Ferris/Lydiate. Toss up here. If Ferris keeps form and keeps injury free, I'd have him in there. This might be my Irish bias coming through though. He's an absolute freak though.
8. Heaslip, if he can get back to form in the next while, can edge either Morgan or Faletau. But only if he can get back to form - it pains me to say he's been off the boil for a while. He's slowly getting back there though. For now though, yeah - Morgan or Faletau.

10. It's a toss up here. Priestland just seems a bit fragile to me. He's like O'Gara used to be - if he misses a kick or two, he'll have a shocker of a game. Sexton or Farrell are far better place kickers, it seems, and of those two, Sexton offers more in defense and ball in hand (only just though). I'd have Farrell and Sexton over Priestland. He's one for the future though, without a doubt.

As for the rest, yeah. My only concern is the two boshers (not quite, but close) at centre. Tuilagi and Roberts are similar enough players, though I've heard Tuilagi is getting better there. Ideally, I'd like someone with a bit of a pass and vision sitting in 13 ... but who is there? BOD will be getting even more on at that stage, possibly not a viable option. No other Irish centre... Earls? Nah, can't see it, similarly with Davies, but he's solid enough. With a good enough distributor at 10 though, you might get away with Tuilagi and Roberts.

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The Green Mafia March 31, 2012 1:42 pm

So, you pretty much agree with me everywhere. Good to know, as I havent followed the 6N as well as I wanted this year. Couldnt catch all the games.

In the n10 jersey I'd have to agree. Take Sexton as your starter and bring Farrel along so he gains a bit of experience and maturity at test level.

Well, while being "neutral" as a spectator (Im from Portugal), I have a bit of a bias for Wales and NZ. I think that Jonathan Davies is a HUGELY underrated player. It's hard to look past his bulk and strong runs, but he is actually quite an intelligent player. He often gets the pass away to the wings or to put Roberts into the gap. Hes not a magician, like Drico was (even though I think ODriscol is fading. Nobody deserves to be as good as he was forever), but is competent enough. The problem lies that in a Lions tour you want more than competent, and there just doesn't seem to be a 13 that is solid and not a bruiser. I'd give the world to get Conrad Smith to tour.

As for n8, I'd like to see Heaslip coming to form, allways rated him, but he seems to be running at half steam for years now. Both in Ireland and Leinster he seems to fade when compared to his flankers workrate and commitment, and hasn't won the fisical match with his opposite number often (he's always been the small and mobile type). And Radike Samo, probably good for another year, is no slouch.

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Full Back April 16, 2012 9:57 am

I'd agree on most of your choices, would have Davies beside Roberts as a pairing here is important. I think given Leinster form Reddan could fill in the bench behind Philips and I can't understand how anyone would leave Tommy Bowe out of the lineup for a Lions tour, I'm guessing he simply wasn't thought of as people have Cuthberts try against England in mind. Between the two though I think Bowe is head and shoulders above the talented young welshman.

As far as the backs are concerned on current form I'd say;

9 Philips / Reddan
10 Sexton /Farrel
12 Roberts / Lamont
13 Davies / Earls / Tuilagi
11 North / Strettle
14 Trimble / Ashton /Cuthbert
15 Kearney / Halfpenny /Hogg

We tend to forget some very talented Scots backs because of the overall team results, but I reckon they could show their worth given the chance.
I'd like to see a lions team that doesn't have more than 60% from one team either. Hard to avoid I know, but there you go!

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Full Back April 16, 2012 10:00 am

*I meant Bowe, not Trimble of course! Although trimble is a talent he's just up against too much competition this year

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Javier Xavier March 31, 2012 6:17 am

Too early to be talking about the Lions! It's more than a year away, in rugby terms this is a good bit of a lifetime! Surely there will be many more English players in the mix come spring of next year...

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moddeur March 31, 2012 1:00 pm

About great tries, we should have a look at the Stade Français' match against Agen last week. Score in the fifties, amazing tries (one in particular with heavy ball-handling).

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WM4L November 08, 2012 8:08 pm

i'm with him though, it has to be North and Cuthbert!!!!!

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Guest 1111 November 09, 2012 6:42 pm

Personally, my XI would be
1. Gethin Jenkins
2.Mathew Rees
3.Alex Corbisiero
4.Richie Gray
5.Courtney Lawes
6.Dan lydiate or Sean 0'brien if you need some extra power
7. Warburton
8. Heaslip or Toby Faletau
9. Mike Phillips or Danny care
10. Priestland, farrel on bench
11. George North
12.Tuilagui (i know he's not a 12 but i think with a lions team you have the chance to mix things up and him with some handling and pace of Davies you could have a better ball playing centre partnership)
13. Johnathan Davies
14.Tommy Bowe, perhaps Ashton
15.Halfpenny, Kearney on the bench

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