George North: Cardiff Blues to pull out of race to sign Wales wing


George North’s 2017 tour of New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions was cut short by injury

Cardiff Blues are set to inform the Welsh Rugby Union they have withdrawn from the race to sign George North.

Wales wing North, 25, will return to Wales at the end of the season on a national dual contract, meaning the WRU will pay 60% of his salary.

In December WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips said all four Welsh regions had shown interest in signing North.

Blues chief executive Richard Holland says North is a “quality player” but they want to strengthen their pack.

The region has decided to prioritise front-five signings before the 2018-19 season, given that props Taufa’ao Filise and Gethin Jenkins are 40 and 37 respectively, while hooker Matthew Rees is 37.

The emergence of wing Owen Lane and full-back Rhun Williams also means the Blues are not in the market for a back-three player.

The Scarlets would have first option on North as his ‘region of origin’ but head coach Wayne Pivac has said they are “not in the market for a wing”.

If the Llanelli-based team stick to that stance, Dragons and Ospreys are North’s remaining options in Wales.

Dragons confirmed their interest in North early in December 2017.

WRU chief executive Phillips has said he would like a decision to be made on North’s destination by the end of this month.

The wing is currently sidelined with a knee injury suffered during his comeback game for Northampton against Harlequins on in December.

Watch Scrum V, BBC Two Wales and online from 18:00 GMT on Sunday, 7 January & later on demand.

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