George North finally plumps for move to Ospreys from next season

first_imgGloucester Read more Share on Facebook George North disciplined but will see out season with Northampton Share via Email Reuse this content Support The Guardian Topics Rugby union Share on Messenger Ospreys It took him five months to make up his mind but the British & Irish Lions wing George North will be joining Ospreys next season after signing a national dual contract.North made the decision to return to Wales last November after spending five seasons at Northampton. He joined them from the Scarlets, who had first call on him as his former region, but they opted not to re-sign him. Cardiff Blues and the Dragons made pitches to the 26-year old, who has scored 34 tries for Wales in 73 Tests, but he preferred Ospreys, who will be in the European Challenge Cup next season.center_img Wales rugby union team Ospreys announced this week that Allen Clarke is taking over as head coach following the sacking of Steve Tandy in January. “I believe the region has an exciting future with the structure and recruitment they have put in place,” North said. “It was a really positive decision for me to sign a national dual contract with the support and structure it provides. I have worked alongside the Welsh Rugby Union to finalise my choice of region and would like to thank everyone involved.”Ospreys have fallen behind the Scarlets in recent seasons and also been overtaken by the Blues, their opponents on the final day of the regular season this weekend at the Principality Stadium, but joining North at Ospreys next season are two fellow Wales players, Scott Williams and Aled Davies.The Guinness Pro14’s final weekend before the revamped play-offs involves a series of derbies. Leinster need a point in Connacht to join Glasgow in the semi-finals and enjoy a rest weekend when the quarter-finals, involving the sides that finish second and third in the two conferences, are played.The Champions Cup organisers have stated that reports Gloucester have already qualified for the tournament next season having reached the Challenge Cup final against Cardiff Blues, who had already secured their place through their league position, are premature.Gloucester, who face Bath at Kingsholm on Saturday, would miss out, even if they beat the Blues, if they finish outside the top six in the Premiership and Racing 92 win the Champions Cup final against Leinster in Bilbao next month having failed to qualify through the Top 14. That outcome is unlikely, with Racing needing three points from their final two league matches to qualify. Should the French side drop out of the top six in the Top 14 and lose against Leinster, they would miss out on the Champions Cup next season.In a bid to incentivise teams to take the secondary tournament seriously, the finalists of this season’s Challenge Cup would have a claim for the final place in the Champions Cup followed by the losing semi-finalists, who would meet in a play-off if they had not already qualified. news Share on LinkedIn … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Since you’re here… Share on Pinterest Northampton Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitterlast_img read more