Wales expect George North to return before World Cup

Winger has returned to full training but will not be pushed back onto frontline yet

Wales skills coach Neil Jenkins has delivered an upbeat bulletin on winger George North as the World Cup countdown moves into its Test match warm-up phase.

North missed the final 10 weeks of last season after being concussed for a third time in five months. And while Jenkins believes it is unlikely that the 23-year-old, who has scored 22 tries during a 49-cap Wales career, will be involved against Millennium Stadium visitors Ireland next Saturday, North continues to make promising progress.

‘Medical staff’

“George has been doing most of the stuff with the rest of the guys,” Jenkins said. “He is still picking up on a few things, and that’s to do with the medical staff.

“But he is going pretty well at this moment in time, and has done a lot of skills and a fair bit of rugby stuff. He is looking in pretty good shape, so hopefully things will keep progressing and he will take some part in these games prior to the World Cup.

“I wouldn’t have thought he would be involved this weekend, but I am sure three weeks down the road he could be involved in the Dublin game (against Ireland).”

Wales’ 40-plus World Cup training squad is now back at its Vale of Glamorgan base following gruelling training camps in Switzerland and Qatar, from where preparations will continue for the opening warm-up game before a return fixture at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on August 29th and then a Cardiff appointment with Italy seven days later.

Wing Liam Williams (foot) and prop Samson Lee (Achilles) are both currently battling back to full fitness and could miss the entire warm-up schedule, with Wales head coach Warren Gatland due to name his final World Cup squad on August 31th.

“If you don’t play games, you are not training to the level the rest of the guys are doing,” Jenkins added. “But if we can get these guys up and running and fit, they will make a big difference to our squad.”