Wales boss Wayne Pivac expects ‘hungry’ George North to perform against Italy as he brings the winger back in from the cold at centre
- George North was dropped from the Welsh side for two weeks after a dip in form
- Wayne Pivac has opted to include North in his starting side for the Italy game
- Pivac says he is ‘hungry’ for international rugby and that he should perform well
- Pivac is also looking for potential replacements for injury prone Jonathan Davies
Wales want George North to prove a powerful point after Wayne Pivac restored him to the starting side for the Italy game this Saturday.
North, 28, was dropped for two weeks after a run of poor form but is now back for the fifth-sixth Autumn Nations Cup playoff, starting for the sixth time at outside centre in his 98th Welsh cap.
Pivac expects a reaction while also planning for life after Jonathan Davies.
George North was dropped for two weeks after a dip in form but is now back in the Wales side
‘George is quite hungry after being in club land for a while,’ said Pivac.
‘He had the misfortune of a red card coming out of lockdown so he’s just played no rugby.
‘He’s had a game and his touches on the ball were pretty good.
‘At 13 we think we’ll get him on the ball early in midfield with his power and strength.
‘He’s big and strong. Hopefully we’ll see some good stuff from George on the weekend.
‘With Jonathan Davies, we know he’s had injuries in the past few years, so it’s looking at who’s going to be able to take that role when he’s not there.
Wayne Pivac opted to include North in his starting side for the Italy game this Saturday
Pivac has said that North is ‘hungry’ for international rugby and that he should perform well
‘Nick Tompkins had an opportunity, now George gets a second go. We believe this is a time to ask questions and get answers.’ Davies was available for selection, but not picked, whereas Josh Navidi still has concussion symptoms.
North is one of nine changes with Callum Sheedy and Kieran Hardy the half-backs, Liam Williams returning from a cut lip, Justin Tipuric fine again after concussion, Will Rowlands swapping for Jake Ball at lock and with a new front row of Nicky Smith, Sam Parry and Tomas Francis.
Pivac has lost seven of nine Tests, but is still concentrating on the future.
‘This is probably not the strongest side possible when everyone is fit and available,’ he added.
‘But we are excited to see this side go out.’ Meanwhile Ross Moriarty will be out for eight weeks after ankle surgery.
Pivac is also looking for long-term replacements for Jonathan Davies – who is injury prone
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