North fit to face France, but won’t play for Saints at Bath, says Wales coach Howley

FIT TO FACE FRANCE - George North
FIT TO FACE FRANCE - George North
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Attack coach Rob Howley has made it clear that George North will not be returning to Saints for Saturday’s game at Bath.

But he says the 22-year-old wing will be fit for his country’s clash with France on February 28.

Saints boss Jim Mallinder had suggested last week that North, who has been undertaking concussion protocols after taking two blows to the head in the defeat to England earlier this month, could play a part for his club at The Rec this weekend.

However, in an interview on Wednesday, forwards coach Dorian West revealed that prospect was now unlikely.

And Howley has confirmed North will not be released by Wales, despite being symptom-free since the defeat to England in Cardiff.

“George is fully recovered but the terms of his contract with Northampton give him full release for Wales and he is staying with us,” said Howley.

“Northampton talked about having an opportunity to play George but we feel we need to keep him with us.

“He could only have played against Bath if we had agreed to release him.”