Wales veteran North retires from internationals

Sports

Wales and British & Irish Lions back George North will retire from international rugby after Saturday’s Six Nations match against Italy in Cardiff.

North, 31, has been named at outside centre for Wales’ clash with Italy as they look for their first win of the championship after four defeats on the bounce.

It will be North’s final match in the red of Wales after an incredible 14-year Test career which has seen him win 120 caps for Wales, as well as three for the Lions.

“I’ve decided that the game on Saturday will bring my international career to an end,” North said.

“After 14 years it feels like now is the right time to step away. I have loved and cherished every second in a Welsh shirt and been able to play alongside some fantastic teammates.

“I’ve been very lucky to have lived my dream. I’m excited for the next chapter. Thank you all for your support over the years. Diolch.”

North retires as Wales’ most-capped men’s back and third on the record for men’s appearances, behind Alun Wyn Jones on 158 caps, and Gethin Jenkins on 129. North is second on Wales’ all-time try-scorers in men’s rugby with his incredible tally of 47 behind Shane Williams’ 58 tries.

“George has contributed hugely to Welsh rugby, in an incredible career starting as an 18-year-old,” Wales coach Warren Gatland said.

“The way that he burst onto the scene. I can remember seeing him play and thinking we need to cap this kid.

“He’s been incredible as a rugby player, but I think the most important thing is how he’s contributed to the squad as a person over the years. How positive and encouraging he’s been within and around the group, things that people wouldn’t have seen in terms of what he’s organised off the field.

“George has been outstanding and a credit to himself. He can definitely hold his head high. He and his family and friends can be very proud of everything he has achieved.”

North also starred for the Lions, winning three caps on their 2013 tour of Australia and then also touring to New Zealand in 2017. With Wales, he won Six Nations Grand Slams in 2012 and 2019 and titles in 2013 and 2021. He was also selected in the 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2023 Rugby World Cup squads.

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