A lot has happened for Wales winger George North in the four years since he tore up the record books as the youngest ever try scorer in World Cup history.
But despite playing his part in a victorious British & Irish Lions tour, pocketing a Premiership winner’s medal with Northampton Saints and winning a Six Nations Grand Slam with Wales, the 23-year-old insists the excitement to star in the biggest rugby competition in the world still burns as bright as ever.
Now cleared to return to full training after not playing since March because of a series of head injuries, North is itching to get back to action and help Wales improve on their World Cup semi-final exit in 2011.
During that tournament in New Zealand, former Scarlets man North announced himself to the world with two tries against Namibia, beating the previous record held by Australian Joe Roff as the youngest ever try scorer at 19 years and 166 days.
Now just one appearance shy of 50 caps for his country, North will in contrast be one of the most recognisable players when this year’s World Cup kicks off on September 18.
But despite the attention being on him, North intends to continue taking it all in his stride.
“I’m a massive fan of the whole of rugby so it’s massively exciting to be getting closer to the World Cup. It’s still as exciting as before,” said North, speaking as Land Rover unveiled an official Rugby World Cup mascot as part of Land Rover’s ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign that aims to put grassroots rugby on the global stage.
“It’s a massive privilege and honour to represent your country in the biggest rugby competition in the world.
“If you’d had told me four years ago that I’d go from making my World Cup debut to playing in a winning British and Irish Lions tour, winning the Premiership with Northampton, playing so many times for Wales, I’d have said that would be a special four years.
“It’s been awesome when I look back at it. But this is another World Cup. It will be different this time around as everyone knows me now but I’m looking forward to it and the chance to represent my country.
“After you’ve been out for a few weeks, it’s always nice to get back into full training. I don’t normally enjoy preseason training but I’m really looking forward to it.
“I’ll be just trying to keep myself busy. The busier I can keep myself the better I feel.”
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