North back on the charge

Mon, 13 Jan 2014 16:41
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Wales wing George North has found his try-scoring form once again after he dealt the Ospreys a heavy European Cup blow on Sunday afternoon.

Wales wing George North has found his try-scoring form once again after he dealt the Ospreys a heavy European Cup blow on Sunday afternoon.

After 12 games without a score, North has managed vital touchdowns in each of his last two games for Northampton Saints.

After his tournament debut try in the Saints’ big win over Leinster at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, he was at it again in the more familiar surroundings of the Liberty Stadium, where he sped 70 metres to score against old rivals the Ospreys.

That was the highlight of Saints' 29-17 win over the Welsh region that keeps them in hunt to win Pool One and possibly qualify for a European Cup or European Challenge Cup place.

To do that they will have to beat French champions Castres at Franklin's Gardens this weekend.

The likelihood is that North's side will have to score four tries to grab a bonus point, and the Ospreys will have to beat current pool leaders Leinster in Dublin.

"From our point of view, we've got one game left and we are going to go flat out and try to get five points," said North, who scored in front of on-looking Wales coach Warren Gatland.

"It has been a tough group for us to get back into after a couple of early losses, and it is now win or nothing for us against Castres. We've still got a chance of making it, and we will go hard until the end.

"The first half was quite frustrating today. It was quite a slow game, and we needed to bump the pace up to how we wanted to play. I had a bit of space and time for the try, so it was happy days."

Northampton Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder believes the Wales and British and Irish Lions wing is settling into the patterns at his new club and paid tribute to his game-breaking ability.

"It was a quality try by George. He is really settling in to the way we want to play. People say he had a slow start with us, but he did some brilliant things early on in the season," said Mallinder.

"He's a quality player. I know he is young, but he is determined to improve and work hard at his game, which is what he's doing. He is playing for a good club, he's playing for Wales and he is happy."

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EUROPEAN CUP
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Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 5 0 1 24
Glasgow Warriors 6 4 0 2 19
Leicester Tigers 6 2 0 4 8
Racing Metro 6 1 0 5 5
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 6 4 1 1 22
Toulouse 6 3 2 1 18
Connacht 6 4 0 2 18
Zebre 6 0 0 6 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 6 5 1 0 24
Toulon 6 3 0 3 16
Scarlets 6 2 1 3 11
Sale Sharks 6 1 0 5 4
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 4 1 1 23
Montpellier 6 3 0 3 16
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Northampton Saints 6 2 0 4 9
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 26
Bordeaux 6 3 0 3 14
Exeter Chiefs 6 2 0 4 12
Ulster 6 2 0 4 10