'Welsh Lomu' North admits debut shock
November 12, 2010
Winger George North warms up for his Test bow this weekend © Getty Images
Teenage sensation George North - a player who has already been dubbed the Welsh Jonah Lomu - has spoken of his immense shock and delight at being named to make his Test debut against the Springboks.
The juggernaut Scarlets wing, all 6ft 4in and 105kg of him, is set to line up against world champions South Africa and mark Springboks speed machine Bryan Habana.
Wales coach Warren Gatland, whose call-up for 18-year-old North is one of three changes to the side beaten by Australia last weekend, has wasted no time in blooding a player now fully recovered from a recent leg injury.
Recalling his selection, North said: "Warren got up and announced the squad for the South Africa game, and when he got to No.14 he suddenly read out my name. I was shocked and it took my breath away. Then it was over and all the boys came up to congratulate me - it was just such an awesome moment.
"A couple of months ago I was starting the season with the Scarlets, and now I am here. I've had texts coming through from the whole family. It's amazing. I will be nervous, but to be honest I can't wait to give it my all and play my game in front of the Millennium Stadium fans. Part of my shock at selection is that I have just come back from injury, but I have just got to control myself and look forward to the game."
Gatland will be keen to see comparisons played down between North and All Blacks superstar Lomu, who is forever remembered for his one-man demolition job on 1995 World Cup semi-final opponents England. But it is difficult to ignore the physical similarity.
"I have been asked whether I would compare him to Jonah Lomu. Physically, I think I probably would," said North's fellow Wales wing Shane Williams.
"He's got a lot of pace and great feet, like Jonah had. He is a player I think we are going to see for a long time. There is no bigger test for him, really - his first cap against the world champions South Africa and playing against my old friend Bryan Habana.
"I played against George for the Ospreys earlier this season. We didn't really have a go at each other on the day, but I remember running up and down the pitch and hearing the crowd singing 'Georgie's gonna get you,' which was quite funny. I have reminded George about that, and we've both had a giggle.
"He doesn't need to try to change anything. He's been selected to play for Wales because of what he has been doing for the Scarlets, and I said to him to go out and do exactly the same thing when he puts the Wales jersey on. He is playing against one of the best wings in the world, but I am sure he can go out there, enjoy the experience and I've no qualms about him coming out on top."
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