Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Rugby Union: Wales relief as North returns to tackle the Springboks


Wales’ hopes of beating South Africa in their own back yard for the first time have received a boost after George North was declared fit for the first Test in Durban tomorrow.

The 22-year-old Northampton wing had been a doubt after being struck down by a virus which left him unable to train for most of the week.

However, the British and Irish Lion took part in final preparations at Kings Park yesterday, and is now fit to face the Springboks.

“George trained this morning, he came through it very well,” Wales’ assistant coach Rob Howley said. “I am delighted to say he is raring to go even though it has been a difficult week for him.

“But our medical team have been taking care of him. Having not trained for a couple of days he was feeling a little rough, but he is ready.

“South Africa will remember his debut against them in 2010 when he scored two tries. He is a world-class player, and you need your world-class players against a side of the calibre of the Springboks.”

Howley admitted that North is unlikely to be able to last a full 80 minutes, meaning that Wales will need to shuffle their back-three resources at some stage.

“We will take the decision from the player and I am sure George will communicate with us in terms of how he is feeling after 50 to 60 minutes.The one thing in international rugby is you have to be flat out, that is part of the intensity and the pressure and it will be even greater on Saturday.”

Scotland have made four changes from the side that beat the United States, for their Test against Canada in Toronto tonight.

Peter Horne will make his first start in place of the injured Duncan Taylor. Grant Gilchrist takes Jim Hamilton’s place in the second row, while prop Moray Low is in for Geoff Cross. Kelly Brown returns to the back row, with Greig Laidlaw retaining the captaincy.