North ruled out of All Blacks clash
November 20, 2012
George North has been ruled out of Saturday's clash with the All Blacks due to a hip injury © Getty Images
Wales wing George North has been ruled out of his side's clash with New Zealand on Saturday with a hip injury.
The Scarlets speedster was named in the side to face the All Blacks earlier this week but injured his hip in a training session on Tuesday and will not play any part in the game. His regional team-mate Liam Williams has been promoted straight into the starting line-up while management remain hopeful North will recover in time to face Australia next week.
The 21-year-old Williams made his international debut at the Millennium Stadium against the Barbarians early this summer, but has not appeared again despite going on to tour Australia under interim head coach Rob Howley and being named on the Wales bench against Argentina in the autumn opener a fortnight ago.
And Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde has backed Williams to step up and shine on Saturday. "It is a blow, we are well aware of the threat George poses with regards to his strong running, ability under the high ball, breaking tackles and his work-rate," McBryde said. "There is no denying it is a blow, but we are fortunate to have someone like Liam, who has performed consistently well for the Scarlets, to fill in for him.
"The signs are that he can deal with it (the pressure of facing the All Blacks), but there is only one way to find out. You can prepare as much as you want, but it is not just a question for young players but for any senior international who has not faced the All Blacks, you don't know how you will react until you get in there.
"But Liam is quite grounded as an individual, he is well aware of the challenge ahead of him. One thing that is evident whenever he puts on the shirt for the Scarlets or for Wales is he is full of life, does not take a backward step and gives as good as he gets."
Wales: L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), L Williams (Scarlets); R Priestland (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne); P James (Bath), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jarvis (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), L Charteris (Perpignan), R Jones (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), G Jenkins (Toulon), S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), A Shingler (Scarlets), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Knoyle (Scarlets), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams (Scarlets).
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape
Move over, Castro - from falling off a chair to stepping off the team bus, Scrum Sevens recounts some of the strangest rugby injuries ever
Martin Gillingham on the latest from France and why the national side can learn a thing or two from Top 14 side Bordeaux Begles