'Before I knew it, I was on the pitch': George North's dad explains Paris pitch invasion
George North explains how his dad 'lost his head in the excitement' after coming onto the pitch to celebrate Wales' match-winning try
Tuesday 12 February 2013
The overwhelming joy felt by the Wales side that defeated France on Saturday was clearly visible at full-time at the Stade de France, but one fan watching on from the stands was unable to contain his emotions as George North crashed over Francois Trinh-Duc for the match winning try.
David North - father of the towering winger – was so caught up in the moment that he had to join the celebrations with his son on the pitch. From the depths of the Welsh support emerged the proud dad, and he grabbed George from behind to the confusion of the players.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, David explained why he felt the need to run onto the pitch in sheer delight. The 54-year-old said: “It was a freezing night and we were sat in that corner, right in front of where George caught the ball. I was just so happy and overwhelmed watching him score. It was such an important game for the team and I know first-hand how hard they have been working to get that victory. Before I knew it, I was on the pitch.”
Amazingly, David explained to the pitch-side stewards that he was a parent of the match-winner, and he was allowed to return to his seat to watch the final few minutes play out. “Thinking back, I know it was a silly thing to do but I just got caught up in the excitement of it all,” he explained.
Perhaps caught up in the moment himself, George failed to notice the 16th Welshman on the pitch was his dad, until his fellow winger Alex Cuthbert told him with a wry smile - once David had been led away.
“To be honest, I can’t understand why running on to the pitch was the first thing that came to his head!” said the 6ft 4in winger, who had just scored his 12th try for his country. “He was in that corner in a big group of Welsh fans. He just lost his head in the excitement.
“My back was turned and I was jogging to the halfway line for the kick-off,” North Jnr continued. “I was oblivious to it. A couple of the boys were saying, ‘Is that your old man?’ And everyone was like, ‘No, it can’t be’.”
But Cuthbert did eventually work out the identity of the mystery fan, and he jogged over to let his teammate know before the two had a quick laugh together. Back when North was playing for Wales Under-16s, his father would drive him from Anglesey in North Wales down to Cardiff – a journey between four-and-a-half and six hours long – at least twice a week, and sometimes more.
“It just shows that George’s dad is a mad fan like all the Welsh fans, really,” joked former Wales centre Tom Shanklin after the match. George summed up his dad’s actions by explaining: “It was such a huge match for us and he is such a devoted supporter of Welsh rugby that he just got caught up in the moment”. Luckily, he wasn’t alone, as every Welsh rugby fan would have wanted to join him for that sensational few seconds.
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