George North is back after over a year of hell of a knee injury

After a year of hell with a knee injury, George North is back and ready to help Wales shock South Africa this summer as a giant wing opens up to his recovery, the pain of being watched as a supporter, and why Wayne Pivac’s team could upset the Springboks

  • Last April, George North suffered a serious knee injury in action for Ospreys
  • This meant he missed the British and Irish Lions tour in South Africa last summer
  • But now he’s back and is in the squad for Wales that will face Springboks this year
  • North opens up to his recovery by watching from home and his hopes on tour

After more than 12 months of misfortune with a knee injury and a broken heart after leaving what would have been his third British & Irish Lions tour, George North is back. Could it be North 2.0? That is the goal.

It’s the early days of the giant wing’s return after an anterior cruciate ligament injury, but North hopes he can make a better return than ever. What a prospect.

North is only 30 years old, but has already accomplished far more than most in his entire career. He has 102 Welsh caps and three in the colors of Lions. He played at three World Cups and won two Grand Slams of Six Nations and two championship titles. Really impressive.

After more than a year of hell of a knee injury, Welsh star George North is back and playing well

After more than a year of hell of a knee injury, Welsh star George North is back and playing well

North suffered a serious knee injury which meant he missed the Lions tour in South Africa

North suffered a serious knee injury which meant he missed the Lions tour in South Africa

GEORGE NORTH’S CAREER IN NUMBERS

Age: thirty

Caps from Wales: 102

British and Irish Lions caps: 3

Wales tries to: 43

Grand Slam of Six Nations: 2

Six Nations Titles: 2

Rugby World Cups: 3

“Free time should allow me to recover physically,” said North, who was named this week with Wayne Pivac’s Welsh squad for the first time in over a year.

“Of course, my body – before it was crushed again in the games – was fine. Now it’s about finding that consistency. ”

North had already started something of a career change last year when, after a long and hugely successful performance on the wing, he was transferred outside of the center with Wales by head coach Pivac.

He helped Wales win the Six Nations in 2021 and excelled in midfield as his team neared an inch from the Grand Slam. Everything looked pink. And then there was a catastrophe.

In April, North suffered a serious knee injury in the Ospreys action against Cardiff. He was soon excluded from the Lions tour in South Africa. A long road to recovery has begun.

“Just over 12 months have passed with the knee. I’ve had a lot of failures, North said, speaking for the first time about his recovery. “In the first two months, I was very happy with my injury because it was the first time in a while that I stopped. After eight or nine weeks, I was ready to continue working, even though my knee was gone.

“It’s been a long road. I have never really had such a long-term injury. There were days of being grumpy, but I always try to be that positive, it doesn’t get any better when I’m grouchy.

North was moved outside the center with Wales by head coach Wayne Pivac and it flourished

Helped Wales win Six Nations in 2021 and excelled when they nearly secured the Grand Slam

Helped Wales win Six Nations in 2021 and excelled when they nearly secured the Grand Slam

“You can be as positive and happy as you can. It was mentally difficult for me from the very beginning because I felt that I was in a good position. I was playing well.

“I rolled off the wing to 13 on the back of the Six Nations with the fuel of the Lions track which was propelling me. This was picked up and found it really hard.

“I don’t think people understand what kind of pot you are in. You find yourself in a pressure pot every day to deliver and make. When you can’t and it’s taken away from you, there’s nothing you can do but give it a rest.

North – now a father of two – rebuilt his knee along with other injured Ospreys teammates Dan Lydiate and Dewi Lake. All three will play South Africa against Wales this summer. Ospreys support staff Matt Bowen and Liam Thomas, with the help of North’s wife Becky and their two sons, Jaca and Tomi, were also invaluable.

Being aloof, North watched the struggle of Wales. They finished fifth in this year’s Six Nations and lost to Italy for the first time at home. “It’s weird,” said North of his time as a spectator.

North and wife Becky James have recently received honorary degrees from Swansea University

North and wife Becky James have recently received honorary degrees from Swansea University

A victory in the form of the North's Ospreys bonus points against the Bulls will seal your place in the Champions Cup

A victory in the form of the North’s Ospreys bonus points against the Bulls will seal your place in the Champions Cup

“It is difficult for me because I hope I will be able to help. It’s probably harder for me to be a supporter in a stadium than to watch him at home. ‘

North will play their third game since his recovery from injury on Friday night when the Ospreys face the South African Bulls. A victory in the form of bonus points would seal a place in next year’s Champions Cup.

North’s next step will be a daunting South African tour. Wales will face the Springboxes in three tests in July as a powerful underdog. When asked if Pivac’s people could cause a shock in the southern hemisphere, North said: “I think so.

“With Italy’s response, which has been well documented, it’s hard to be, but Wales always does well as the underdog.

“If you look at recent history like the World Cup and the Six Nations when we got defeated, it always feels like we are moving forward.

“What an opportunity to conduct three tests in South Africa which will be huge. I am delighted with the choice. Of course, I realize that I have a lot of work to do to gain momentum. “

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