George North to return for Northampton to face Gloucester

First appearance for winger since sustaining head injury during Leicester clash

 George North was cleared to play in last Friday’s 24-5 victory over Sale but Northampton omitted the Wales wing from their squad. Photograph:  David Davies/PA Wire

George North was cleared to play in last Friday’s 24-5 victory over Sale but Northampton omitted the Wales wing from their squad. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

 

George North makes his first appearance since being the subject of a joint investigation into his latest head injury when Northampton face Gloucester on New Year’s Day.

North starts the Aviva Premiership clash at Kingsholm on the left wing in place of Juan Pablo Estelles – his maiden outing since appearing to have been knocked out against Leicester on December 3rd.

A Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby review opted not to charge Northampton or their medical staff with misconduct for allowing North to resume playing despite his suspected loss of consciousness during an aerial collision.

North was cleared to play in last Friday’s 24-5 victory over Sale but Northampton omitted the Wales wing from their squad.

While North’s return to action brings to an end his most recent absence through concussion, the full consequences of allowing him to rejoin the match against Leicester are not yet known despite the outcome of the investigation.

The day after Northampton were cleared by the review, World Rugby announced it was seeking further information from the RFU about an “apparent non-compliance” with its concussion protocols.

Good performance

In Saturday’s only fixture, Bath host Exeter in a west country derby that matches third against fourth in the Premiership.

Exeter – last season’s beaten finalists – have stuttered through the current campaign but climbed back into the play-off positions with a 31-10 victory over Leicester on Christmas Eve.

“Last week against Leicester was a good performance from us,” Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter said.

“What you are seeing at the moment is that we are on the right track and that we are playing at a level and an intensity that we feel comfortable with.

“Earlier in the season we weren’t quite hitting those levels, but it certainly feels like we are now.

“We’re back in the top four and things are now back in our hands so to speak. If we want to try and get to a Premiership final again, this is the place you need to be.”

England wing Anthony Watson is poised to make his first appearance since breaking his jaw in early October after being named on Bath’s bench.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.