George North: Wales and Ospreys back returns against Scarlets

George North
George North has won 102 Wales caps and played three Tests for the British and Irish Lions on two tours, in Australia in 2013 and New Zealand four years later
Venue: Stadium Date: Saturday, 30 April Kick-off: 17:15 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales; Match report and highlights on the BBC Sport website and app. Highlights on Scrum V, from 18:00 BST, Sunday, BBC Two Wales and online and later on demand.

Ospreys say Wales back George North will return after a year out injured in the United Rugby Championship (URC) derby against Scarlets.

North suffered a knee injury in April 2021 against Cardiff and has seen his comeback delayed in recent weeks.

The 30-year-old is set to be in the Ospreys squad to face their local rivals.

“George is available and that’s the exciting part,” said Ospreys head coach Toby Booth.

Booth refused to say whether North would start or come off the replacements’ bench.

Ospreys will be without full-back Max Nagy, who is set to miss the rest of the season after limping off against Cardiff.

Booth explained why there have been a few false starts over North’s comeback, with the British and Irish Lions back’s return having been delayed.

“The last five per cent is the hardest part because you don’t know how you respond to training, especially after a long-term injury,” said Booth.

“Your body has to get used to the load you’re putting through it.

“With George, we got him to that point and then his body would react and then we would have to back it down.

“It wasn’t straightforward. We can only be governed by how the player feels and reacts.

“We’ve finally got to a situation where his body’s good enough to back up to the training he requires to perform well. So he’s now available.

“We’ll see what happens after this weekend to see how he pulls up for the following game.

“Like with all of our players, our aim is not to get them back for one-offs. It’s to get them back and stay back. It’s important we have the welfare of our players at the centre of decisions we make.”

North has played the majority of his rugby on the wing but starred for Wales at centre during the 2021 Six Nations success.

“You want all your best players on the pitch, whatever position that is,” added Booth.

“George is a good player who can have an influence on the game.

“He’s played in both positions, but we want to be in a situation where he gets confidence from what he knows.”

Booth also denied suggestions Justin Tipuric’s career was in jeopardy, with the Wales flanker having not played since June 2021 because of a shoulder injury.

“There is certainly nothing in that,” said Booth.

“I do [think we will have him back next season]. As far as we are concerned he is absolutely on course to be back next year.”

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