North turns up the heat

George North has lit the blue touch paper ahead of tomorrow's RBS 6 Nations decider by claiming Welsh fans want an English "bloodbath". [more]

North turns up the heat

George North has lit the blue touch paper ahead of tomorrow’s RBS 6 Nations decider by claiming Welsh fans want an English "bloodbath".

The giant wing has been made well aware of what the clash means to Wales’ fanatical fans.

He reckons the red-hot atmosphere is a huge positive for the Dragons but insists they must keep cool heads.

“It’s funny. You try and keep a cool head and maintain calm and focus, but everyone you see on the street is saying ‘Make sure you smash their heads in,’” quipped North.

“Wales is a massive rugby nation and whenever we play England there seems to be this long, long rivalry that everyone just wants a bloodbath really.

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“They just want the best for the team and their way of helping is just making sure they give a tap on the back or saying good luck when you are walking round town

“Everyone has got that common thing that everyone doesn’t really like the English in rugby terms.

“But they are a great team and have great qualities. It’s not like a bad thing that people hate them because they are nasty people. It’s that they are a good team to beat and a good scalp to have.

“A lot of the boys see it as a positive. They are only going to try and help you and make sure you can do the best you can for that game.

“Growing up in Wales as a Welshman, Wales-England is always a big game, isn’t it?

“Growing up watching it and playing in it at schoolboy level and through the age grade and coming to this level now, it’s a massive game and this week is no different.

“You can’t beat around the fact that it is a big game. But you’ve got to try and take it as your job at the end of the day, so it’s just trying to focus now ready for the weekend.

“If you cut all the emotions out of it, it’s just another game. If you take all the fans away it’s just 15 against 15.

“It’s your job at the end of the day and you’ve just got to make sure your head is in the right place. You’ve got to pull yourself back from the occasion and try and relax.”

And North has paid tribute to the way Wales have turned their fortunes around. They lost the first encounter of the Championship against Ireland, to stretch their losing-streak to eight matches, but are unbeaten since.

Wales can retain their title by beating the old enemy by seven or more points and the Scarlets wing admits he has put his father David in the upper echelons of the Millennium Stadium, following his pitch invasion after North’s match-winning try against France.

“Obviously the autumn series didn’t go particularly to plan,” said North.

“When we lost those eight we were pretty down in the dumps about it but the boys stayed together as a squad.

“We cut everything out and just focused on our own game and on each other.

“The run we’ve had now leading into this last game is really showing where our good work has been.

“To have the heartbreak of losing the first championship game against Ireland, to not perform very well and then to have such a hard journey with three away games on the bounce and then come back home with a great chance to retain the title, it’s a great place to be for the whole squad.”

“I’ve got my old man a ticket for the back left-hand side, so he can’t get onto the pitch!” he said.

“I’ve already told him if he comes on this time around I’m going to clatter him. I think he got a bit caught up in the emotions to be honest.”

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