George North: Ospreys want to sign Wales winger for rest of season


North joined Aviva Premiership side Northampton Saints in 2013

Ospreys are keen to hand George North an immediate return to Welsh rugby.

The 25-year-old did not feature in Northampton Saints’ Premiership defeat to Sale, with boss Alan Gaffney suggesting he did not want to play.

North is due to return to Wales on a dual contract next season but head coach Warren Gatland said he would back his player if he wanted to leave early.

Ospreys want to add North to their injury-hit squad for the rest of the season and on a permanent basis.

North is part of Wales’ Six Nations squad, but can play for Saints during the tournament’s rest weekends. He was injured during Wales’ defeat in Ireland, but is fit to play against Italy on Sunday.

If he is involved in Wales’ final match against France on 17 March, he is likely to be available for only another five matches as a Saints player.

North featured as a substitute for Wales against England at Twickenham

Speaking on BBC Radio Northampton earlier this week, Gaffney said he was “disappointed” North did not play against Sale.

“We picked a side that actually wanted to be out on the pitch and picked the best side for the game for Northampton,” he said.

Gatland said: “The message I’ve said to George is if he wants to come home quicker than next season then we’ll look after him”.

North joined Saints from Scarlets in 2013, but will return to Wales after signing a national dual contract in November.

Out of the four Welsh regions, Scarlets were allowed to speak to him first being his region of origin, while Dragons have also expressed an interest.

Cardiff Blues pulled out of the race to sign North in January and while Ospreys made no comment, they are willing to offer him a refuge until the rest of the season.

North would be a welcome boost to the backs, with the retirement of wing Eli Walker, centre Ben John taking a 12 month break, and wing Keelan Giles recovering from a serious knee injury.

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