Saints star North revelling in big-game environment

BIG GAME PLAYER - George North (Picture: Linda Dawson)
BIG GAME PLAYER - George North (Picture: Linda Dawson)

Big names for the big games. That’s what Saints brought in last summer.

Alex Corbisiero, Kahn Fotuali’i and George North were among the men jettisoned into Franklin’s Gardens.

And now, with a chance to claim a first Premiership title just 80 minutes away, Saints will hope their star men can step up at Twickenham this Saturday.

It is an occasion that inspires relish in one of the men who moved to Northampton last summer.

“It’s the sense of occasion,” says Wales wing North, almost licking his lips in anticipation. “Some boys like that sense of occasion, others don’t really get on with it and just try to focus on the game.

“For me it’s about focusing on the fact it’s a final, it’s been a long, hard season to get here and now it’s time to really put your stamp on a final.”

North has already put his stamp on so many games across the globe.

From the British & Irish Lions Test series in Australia, during which North scored twice to help his team claim a 2-1 victory, to big games for club and country, North has shown he can make an impact when it matters most.

Now he will look to do so again, aiming to shine against a Saracens team he scored against at Allianz Park last month.

“It’s the Premiership final and you’ve got to go as hard as you can, full fat milk and leave everything out on the track,” said the 22-year-old.

“You can’t have a second chance next week. it’s one chance and one chance only in the Premiership final. The boys are going to go flat out.”

Saints missed out in the Premiership final last May, suffering a 37-17 defeat to Leicester.

But North wasn’t at the club then, and any mention of it has no meaning to the likeable Welshman.

“You can take things from the past and I’ll analyse things, look at video and stuff, but there’s no point dwelling on the past,” he said, philosophically.

“You can look at last season to see how they lost that, but this is a new season and it’s a new team we’re playing against in the final. We’re a different squad from last year.”

And this squad, North says, is a joy to be part of.

“The squad here is exceptional,” he said. “It’s something you can’t really understand until you’ve been involved in it.

“You get to understand certain players and understand how each other play.

“Everyone’s putting their hand up for selection and the quality of boys who start every week, the boys who come on, the boys who have been here when internationals have been away.

“It’s a machine that goes on and on.”

And it’s not just on the field, where North is revelling in life at Saints.

“It’s difficult to come into a new squad and be part of it, but here there’s no egos, we’re all at one together and it’s something I’ve loved,” said the wing, who joined from Scarlets last summer.

“You’re a bit nervous what’s going to happen, but from minute one it’s one in, all in.

“We live together, and train together. Everyone’s together as a squad and no one’s left behind. No one’s different, we’re all together.”