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Wales great George North announces international retirement

By Josh Raisey
George North of Wales looks on during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between Wales and Argentina at Stade Velodrome on October 14, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Wales centre George North has confirmed that Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations encounter with Italy will be his last match in Test rugby.

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The 31-year-old returns to Wales’ starting XV for the Wooden Spoon decider at the Principality Stadium in round five of the Six Nations, having missed out entirely on the 45-24 loss to France, in what will prove to be his last game in red.

With a move lined up to French outfit Provence at the end of the season, the Ospreys centre confirmed on social media that Saturday will be his 121st and final match for Wales.

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The decision will bring to an end a 14-year international career, which began in 2010 when North made his Wales debut as an 18-year-old against South Africa.

Since his debut, North has scored 47 tries for Wales, which leaves him second on the all-time tally for his country.

North’s exploits in the red jersey of the British & Irish Lions are also legendary. He went on two Lions tours, 2013 and 2017, starting in all three Tests in the series win over Australia, scoring one of the great Lions tries in the first Test.

The former Northampton Saints wing has not been shy of silverware with Wales either with four Six Nations titles to his name, including Grand Slams in 2012 and 2019.

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North is the latest in a string of Welsh greats to retire over the past year, joining the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Biggar and Leigh Halfpenny. This is a further blow to Wales’ back line as well, with Warren Gatland losing star winger Louis Rees-Zammit to the NFL before the Six Nations.

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

“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.”

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