George North is returning to Welsh rugby, having signed a National Dual Contract.

Reporter:

Andrew Martin

Wales and Lions winger George North will make a return to Wales at the conclusion of this season when his playing commitments with Northampton Saints have been completed.

North was honoured by the Gorsedd of the Bards at the National Eisteddfod on Anglesey this August. He was awarded blue robes and made an honorary druid during a ceremony at the prestigious event.

North was brought up on the island and educated in Ysgol Bodedern, a stone's throw from this year's Eisteddfod.

The 25-year-old’ return to Wales, where he previously excelled with the Scarlets between 2010-2013, has delighted national team head coach, Warren Gatland.

“It is fantastic that George is returning to Wales on a National Dual Contract,” he said. “At just 25, George is in the prime of his career and signing an NDC, with all the playing and non-playing benefits associated with it, will allow him to flourish.

“It is great for the game here in Wales to see a player of George’s stature and reputation return home to play his domestic rugby.

“We will work with George to determine the best fit for him and will look to announce where he will play in the New Year.”

Chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, Martyn Phillips, said: “This is a major signing for Welsh Rugby. Our recently announced Senior Player Selection Policy is designed to attract and retain Welsh players.

“We have also determined that the NDCs should be used strategically with a focus on players with more than 60 caps. George meets that criteria perfectly and we look forward to welcoming him back to Wales.”

North added: “As a proud Welshman, I’m excited to be heading back to Wales and to have signed an NDC.

“I feel that the time is right and the opportunity to sign an NDC, with the benefits that come with it and the support it provides from the national squad set-up, is a great option for me.

“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of Northampton Saints for last four years and I have loved every minute of my time here. I am excited to see what we can achieve this season and I will be putting everything I have into helping the squad fulfil our potential this year. I would like to thank everyone at the Saints, especially all of the supporters.”

Email:

andrew.martin@nwn.co.uk

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