North adamant he is staying put
April 25, 2012
George North saw his stock rise in the recent Six Nations © Getty Images
Wales flyer George North is adamant that he is happy at the Scarlets despite more players opting to move cross-Channel.
The likes of Gethin Jenkins, Huw Bennett, Aled Brew and potentially Alex Cuthbert all look set to be playing their rugby in France next term with the four Welsh regions adjusting to life under their new salary cap constraints and unable to compete with the higher offers in the Top 14 Orange. But while North's fellow back three team-mate Cuthbert still looks as if he'll be in the Top 14 next term rather than the RaboDirect PRO12, North is keen on staying put for the time being.
"I am happy where I am," North said. "I am contracted to the Scarlets for a couple of years and I can't see me leaving, I am enjoying my rugby in Wales. I can understand boys wanting to go to France. It's a short career and you want to make as much as you can but I am pretty happy with where I am."
North's declaration will please former Wales winger Shane Williams who has spoken out about the matter. Williams will call time on his illustrious playing career at the end of the season and will move into an off-field role with the Ospreys. They too are experiencing upheaval in their playing squad but Williams remains hopeful that Wales can hold onto their promising young players.
"There are massive financial benefits of going abroad but the last thing I want to do is encourage players to leave Wales," Williams said. "As a Welsh fan myself, I'd much prefer to see these boys playing in Wales, but current economic times don't help that.
"With Cuthbert, he's got a big rugby future ahead of him. Is it the time to go? I can't tell you that. I'm sure the figures the likes of Toulon and Racing Metro are chucking around at the moment are making it very difficult for the youngsters.
"It's very appealing and it's a big step from what they're earning at the moment. There are pros and cons with both. I wouldn't want to be one of these players who encourage youngsters to go abroad but you can't blame them either.
"I'd love to see them stay. I'd much rather see the likes of Cuthbert and these youngsters staying in Wales and playing for their regions, and then making it easier for them to play for their country. But that's almost an impossible feat at the moment because the French sides are chucking so much money at these youngsters. You really can't blame them for going."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton