January 30, 2018 / 7:05 PM / 21 days ago

North returns to club in bid to prove fitness for Wales

(Reuters) - Wales winger George North will be released back to his English Premiership club Northampton to play this weekend in a bid to prove his fitness before next month’s Six Nations clash against England at Twickenham, coach Warren Gatland said on Tuesday. North was supposed to undergo a fitness assessment on Monday, before Wales announced their team to play Scotland in their Six Nations opener on Saturday. Yet he did not train because he was recovering from a tight hamstring that forced him to pull out of Northampton’s win at Sale Sharks last weekend.

He was subsequently left out of the Welsh team for Saturday’s encounter in Cardiff. “He hasn’t had a lot of rugby, he definitely needs some rugby, so it was a little bit disappointing that he didn’t get some time on the field. But his hamstrings were a little bit tight after a quality week of training,” Gatland told a news conference. North has made just two replacement appearances since October because of a knee injury. “He didn’t train with us on Monday because he was still recovering. He’s going to be released back to Northampton to get a game this weekend to hopefully put him in contention for a place against England,” added Gatland. Northampton play Harlequins on Friday in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. Wales play England in their second Six Nations match on Feb. 10.

Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Toby Davis

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