George North is leaving Northampton at the end of the season and Shane Williams has given him some words of advice when it comes to choosing his next club.
The former Ospreys winger would like to see him at the Liberty Stadium, but it’s not the Swansea-based club that North should join according to Williams, but the Scarlets.
“I would love to see him at the Ospreys. He certainly would bring an attacking emphasis to the team. I think for George if he goes to the Scarlets he would be playing in a backline that score a lot of tries, play with a lot of tempo and open rugby and he will also have an opportunity to learn an awful lot from Stephen Jones. So that would probably be a great signing for the Scarlets and suit George, but I think any region at the moment would be bending over backwards to try and get him within that squad and keep him fit and he is only going to get better as time goes on.”
North has scored two tries in his last two appearances for Northampton and looks in good shape since his return from a knee injury. Williams feels the temptation to play the big winger this weekend against Ireland in Dublin will be too great.
“George North is the kind of player that seems to play well against Ireland, he brings that experience and perhaps we will see George North fit in at the expense of Josh Adams. I think Steffan Evans has worked really hard and I think he’d be a little bit hard done by if he’s not selected. Liam Williams who is just coming back from injury, I don’t know if he is one hundred per cent fit yet, but if he is he has to be in the squad because he is one of the best attacking wingers and 15’s in the game.”
Ireland are top of the Natwest 6 Nations table and are favourites this weekend, but Williams isn’t writing off his countrymen.
“It is a tough ask for Wales, but I think they will take a lot of confidence from the England game. Obviously they didn’t win the match and a lot of controversy but I think they played well the majority of the game defensively and discipline was very good and it was a game they could have won, so they have got to take heart from that because England are a very good side. But it will be a different story over here, Ireland are very tough at home at the moment, playing with confidence, however I think either team could win.”
“If Wales give him more time on the ball. I thought they were quite sloppy at the breakdown and it made it very difficult for Gareth Davies to get the ball to Patchell. He was under pressure from (Owen) Farrell and it made it very difficult. So if they tidy that area up, it would suit Patchell.”
Willams picked out halfbacks Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton as being key for Ireland, citing their strong kicking game. He also reserved praise for winger Keith Earls, who he described as “under-rated”, while fullback Rob Kearney is “always in the right place at the right time”.
Guinness has partnered with well-known Dublin pub Paddy Cullen’s to change its name to “Shane Williams” on Saturday, 24 February, as a nod to the Welsh legend and to create a new ‘Welsh’ ‘home from home’ destination for a pre-match pint. All fans will be welcome whatever their jersey!
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