Saints star George North keen to focus on the future

George North (picture: Sharon Lucey)
George North (picture: Sharon Lucey)

George North wasn’t too keen to talk about his much-publicised head injury after last Saturday’s win against Castres.

The saga, which surrounded North’s December 3 collision with Leicester’s Adam Thompstone, the medical treatment the Wales wing was given and the fact he returned to the field at Welford Road after appearing to have been knocked unconscious, seemed to go on for ever.

So perhaps it is understandable that North, who gave some curt answers, did not want to say anything that might spark more headlines about the situation, which has now been resolved, with Saints avoiding sanctions.

And the 24-year-old was far more open when discussing team matters and even his own displays since returning from the spell on the sidelines that was forced on him while the investigation into the events on that day at Welford Road took place.

“Obviously I can still improve and get the ball in hand a bit more, but the way the team’s been performing in the past six weeks, it’s been difficult to get that wide rugby and momentum back into the game,” said North, who made his comeback in the New Year’s Day win at Gloucester.

“In the last four games, there have been some ugly performances, but we need that momentum really.

“Conditions haven’t helped and when you’re having a tough old time, you resort to your default and go back into your shell a bit.

“When it’s like that it’s difficult to break the mould, especially when you’re on the back foot and the middle part of the table is so tight.

“But now we’ve got momentum we’re in a good position to go back into the Premiership.”

North understands that results are more important than performances for a Saints side who are currently sixth in the Aviva Premiership, five points adrift of fourth-placed Bath.

And he said: “If you look at the last six or seven weeks, it’s been tough.

“Obviously Europe’s out of the equation, but the middle of the Premiership is so tight. You win a couple of games and you can be in the top four but if you lose a couple you can find yourselves out of the top six and down the bottom.

“Unfortunately we’ve been on the wrong side of some results at home, but the last four games have really kept our momentum high and put the buzz back into the boys for the rest of the season.”

Saints may have beaten Castres 28-21 last weekend, but their European campaign ended while North was missing in December.

He was unable to play in the back-to-back thumpings at the hands of Leinster.

And he simply said: “It’s never nice to watch is it really?”

Thankfully for North and Saints, he can now do more than just watch.

And he made more metres than any of his team-mates in the 28-21 win against Castres.

“If you look at the first 40, for me, the backline and as a whole squad that’s where we want to be,” said North, who helped his team into a 21-8 half-time lead.

“We’ve got some powerful runners, some big guys, skilful guys and if we can keep that tempo high with front-foot ball, happy days.”

Saints will now look to make it five wins in a row at Montpellier on Friday night.

And North said: “It would be huge for us.

“If we can keep that winning streak going it will put confidence in the boys, bring them out of their shell and we can play that brand of rugby we want to play.”

North and his Saints team-mates were backed vociferously by the Franklin’s Gardens faithful last weekend.

And he said: “It’s brilliant.

“The last six or seven weeks have been tough and the thing that makes the difference is the fans coming here week in, week out.

“We don’t go out to lose or to play bad and when they still come out through thick and thin to support us, it’s brilliant.”