Football

Wales receive George North boost

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Football News
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George North has offered Wales strong encouragement that he will be fit for their World Cup campaign.

The Northampton winger played a full part in a contact session as Wales trained in public in Colwyn Bay on Tuesday as part of their preparations for the tournament.

Uncertainty has surrounded the 23-year-old's availability after he suffered three concussions in the space of five months and consequently missed the final 10 weeks of last season.

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He was not risked in Saturday's warm-up defeat by Ireland in Cardiff and is being continually assessed, but the Wales backroom team are pleased with his progress.

Forwards coach Robin McBryde said: "We haven't risked the boys who we didn't need to risk, but George was out there playing.

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"Someone of George's ability is going to be an addition to any squad in world rugby. To have him back fit, that has given everybody a boost."

Captain Sam Warburton was also pleased to see North playing such an active part.

Warburton said: "He has been training really well from day one. Physically he is a freak and I never thought he was going to miss the World Cup.

"He is one of our players with X-factor and, in my opinion, one of the best players in the world.

"Athletically he is in fantastic shape now and I am sure we will see the best of George over the next few months."

A crowd of around 4,000 attended the session at Parc Eirias, which was part of a three-day training camp being held by the national side in north Wales. They were able to watch regular training drills and a practice match of reasonable intensity.

With the 46-man squad set to be reduced by up to 10 later this week, the game provided a last big chance for a number of fringe players to state their case for the World Cup.

Wales, who play further warm-up games against Ireland and Italy before their tournament opener against Uruguay on September 20, have to name a final 31-man squad by August 31.

McBryde said: "The (first) team was much the same as the weekend. We tried to recreate that intensity and the crowd played their part.

"It was a great opportunity to give everyone another chance before we cut down the squad.

"It has been good to come away to a different environment. There was 100 per cent support for both teams and the welcome has been fantastic. The turnout shows how important it is we remember north Wales."

McBryde also delivered a positive update on two players not with the party due to injury in back Liam Williams and prop Samson Lee. Williams has been troubled by a foot injury while Lee underwent Achilles surgery four months ago.

He said: "They are both on schedule. Samson has been taking part in scrummaging sessions, not full, but front-row wise. Liam is back on track. He has done some running on the machine and some weights."

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Wales

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