Wales boss Gatland wants North to start for Saints against Harlequins

George North (picture: Sharon Lucey)
George North (picture: Sharon Lucey)

George North has been released back to Saints for Friday’s game against Harlequins, with Wales boss Warren Gatland ‘hoping he gets 60 minutes’ of match action.

North was due to play in the Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Sale Sharks last Sautrday but, after warming up with the team, he felt some tightness in his legs and was forced to withdraw.

Interim head coach Alan Dickens later told this publication that it was a ‘precautionary measure’.

North has not started for Saints since suffering a knee injury in the Champions Cup defeat to Saracens in October.

He has made appearances from the bench against Harlequins, on December 30, and Saracens, on January 20.

But he has been left out of the Wales team to face Scotland in Saturday’s Six Nations opener, with Gatland wanting the winger to get some game time from the start for Saints.

“He needs some rugby,” the Wales boss said.

“He was hoping to get a run out last weekend but his hamstrings were tight after a heavy week of training.

“He’s going to be released back to get a game this weekend and hopefully he gets 60 minutes.

“Hopefully he can put himself in contention for the England game (on February 10).”