James Corrigan: We should all hail North now, in case it all goes south for him down the line

The Way I See It: The boy seems grounded and Anglesey will provide a bolthole from the hype already swirling through the valleys

Like nature's way of placing dock leaves next to stinging nettles, so sport is careful to supply its antidote to the tawdry, the unseemly, the grotty, the plain off-putting; in short, the Carlos Tevez. And this weekend the remedy arrived in the startling sight of George North.

Sometimes they just come along for no other reason than the genetic lottery. The Welsh will no doubt claim the teenaged terror is the latest off the famous production line. But unless Max Boyce has shifted it to King's Lynn then North is a mould-breaker. Granted, as a Welsh speaker with a Welsh mum who grew up in Anglesey from the age of two, North is as Welsh as the hair on Tom Jones's chest. Yet that doesn't mean the Welsh have sole rights on his wonder.

North is for every rugby fan, every man, woman, boy or girl tottering on the edge of sofas waiting for the big man to get his hands on the ball. The purists will point out that Sam Warburton is more important to the Dragonhood, the marauding openside who at the age of 22 leads by exhaustive example. Sam is a modest lad, too, the perfect captain.

It is rather incredible that Warburton was in the same class at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff as Gareth Bale. The pair were friends and when asked in November when was the last time they saw each other, Warburton replied: "It was recently. I was with my mum, shopping in town and we ran into Gareth and his mum. We didn't say much to each other. We left the talking to the mums." Apparently, Internazionale and the Rugby World Cup could wait. There was the lumbago of Mrs Jones from No 53 to discuss.

So Welsh, so Warburton. Certainly there is plenty to talk about when it comes to the scavenging inspiration already being mentioned in the same breath as Richie McCaw. Indeed, he is every inch the talent of North. The trouble is, Warburton is two inches shorter.

North promises to be something more than simply a great rugby player. Dare we evoke the name Jonah Lomu in comparison? Well, everybody else has. And perhaps that is apt as the legendary wing lies in that Auckland hospital undergoing daily dialysis.

There are similarities, as anyone who watched yesterday's destructive performance against Fiji will confirm. Like Lomu, North is so much more than a big lump with a turn of foot. "What was sometimes overlooked with Jonah, in the awe of all that power and pace, was that he had great hands and feet, had really subtle skills in the contact area and so forth," so Shane Williams, North's Welsh team-mate, told The Independent last year. "George is the same. It's that mix of the physical attributes and the footballing skill. It's a potent formula."

Potent enough to leave the viewer slurring. If this were the Eighties or Nineties then those "knaves, the Rugby League scouts", as Boyce called them – "those Bradford Northern spies and plastic E-Type Englishmen with promise in their eyes" – would be canoeing over to Anglesey in huge fleets to woo his relatives. What a place to call home. Dawn French was born in Anglesey, as was Glenys Kinnock, while the presence of Prince William and his young wife at the RAF base has led to the opening of a Waitrose.

But the island's previous claim to sporting fame was that Matthew Maynard, the England cricketer, also grew up there. In terms of rugby, it didn't get any better than Sir Clive Woodward playing alongside Iain Duncan Smith in the centre as teenagers on the HMS Conway School Ship. And in Wales, believe me, it can't get much worse.

Now Anglesey's hero has emerged. Things happen when North puts hand to leather, things climaxing in white paint. "He's a special player, a one-off," says Lee Byrne, yet another admiring team-mate. "He is the fastest in the team sprints, the strongest in the team gym. He's that sort of player who comes along once in every 10 years," added Byrne.

Of course, these are mere words, just as the eulogy provided by none other than Bryan Habana was only words. "I have never seen a teenager as good as that," says the World Cup-winning wing. Yes, sometimes the words only reflect the action and in North that definitely seems the case. "What will he do next?" – it is the question that burns throughout any match he plays, as well as through his career as a whole.

The Welsh can be fairly confident he will not fall off the celebrity tightrope, once occupied so enthusiastically by the likes of Gavin Henson. The boy seems grounded and Anglesey will provide a bolthole from the hype already swirling through the valleys; although how long the Scarlets will be able to retain him will soon be the desperate caveat. "George is gonna get you," they sing with merciless glee. The point might come when they are "gonna come and get George".

That's the problem with "unique talents". Their uniqueness must be exploited. They will build him up and the opposing defences will knock him down. Make no mistake, they will eventually find a way to stop big George. But until they do, enjoy a remarkable young man living his and our dreams. Without a controversy in sight.

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
news
Life & Style
tech
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates his goal
sport
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
News
news
Arts & Entertainment
film
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Arts & Entertainment
Homer meets Lego Marge in the 25th anniversary episode of The Simpsons, set to air on 4 May
tv
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey gets the North Korean leader's look
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal