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Wales Rugby
Easterby: It'll be a disaster if North leaves
ESPN Staff
March 19, 2013
Wales' George North is taken down by Scotland's Sean Lamont, Scotland v Wales, Six Nations, Murrayfield, Scotland, March 9, 2013
George North: Hot property © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: George North

Scarlets coach Simon Easterby is desperate to persuade George North to resist the lure of a move to Northampton and warned it would be a disaster for Welsh rugby if he left for the Aviva Premiership.

The Wales winger's agent revealed this week that they had opened talks with Northampton over a possible move to the Aviva Premiership club. The 20-year-old, who helped Wales retain the Six Nations title this month, has previously been linked with a move to the French Top 14.

But Easterby hopes North will at least honour the final year of his current contract. "If George leaves it goes without saying it would be a disaster for us and the rest of the Welsh regions, and for Welsh rugby in general," said Easterby. "It shouldn't happen and we shouldn't be talking about this.

"George is an exceptional talent. He's come through our region, we've supported him and we've developed his skills. He's not played for another side, and we're desperate to keep hold of him."

North's agent Christian Abt hinted that Scarlets may be forced to offload the 20-year-old for financial reasons, but Easterby added: "No, I don't want him to go. I am not asking George North to leave the Scarlets.

"Why would I want, as a rugby coach, to get rid of our quality players? We are not a feeder system for England and France as some people have suggested.

"We are along with the other regions are probably the lowest financed teams in Europe. That puts us under a bit of pressure. But when you have players like George North you want to keep them.

"Something needs to happen soon because it would be for the detriment of the regional and the national game if players keep leaving. This needs to be resolved as soon as possible because we will have more players leaving this and next year and it will be a downward spiral."

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