Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Be patient with North - Rokocoko

Joe Rokocoko

New Zealand winger Joe Rokocoko has warned Wales to be patient with teenage prodigy George North following the youngster's impressive start to his international career.

Eighteen-year-old North was handed his first cap by coach Warren Gatland in the 29-25 defeat to South Africa, scoring two well-taken tries and carrying powerfully. His second appearance came in Friday's dismal 16-16 draw with Fiji but the Scarlets three-quarter still produced some eye-catching moments, including a strong run out of defence that saw him power through the tackle of visiting prop Campese Ma'afu.

"I have been hearing a lot about him in the past two weeks," said Rokocoko of North. "He made his debut against the Springboks and did really well scoring two tries."

He added: "He may not have been so happy with the way things went for him against Fiji, but he will have learned a lot from that and its all out experiencing games and Test matches, and he showed glimpses of his talent when he had space.

"But you have to be patient with a guy like that, the more games he plays the better he is going to get."

North is likely to retain his place as Wales go in search of a first win for 57 years against the All Blacks at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, and could come up against Rokocoko should the 68-cap Blues back be recalled by New Zealand coach Graham Henry.

Rokocoko started the first two Tests of New Zealand's end-of-year tour against Australia in Hong Kong and England at Twickenham, but missed the victories against Scotland and Ireland as the combination of Hosea Gear and Cory Jane were preferred by Henry.

And while the 27-year-old is desperate to be involved at the Millennium Stadium, where The All Blacks can clinch a third Grand Slam over the Home Unions in six seasons, he is also happy to do his bit for the squad as a whole.

"Of course you want to have an impact in the team and I want to be running out on the field like any player, but I am not the only guy missing out," he said. "The team changes every week so the team are pretty tight and there is no concern there.

"We are here to win the Grand Slam. We have a good culture of working hard to get the right result and when you see guys scoring tries on game day you can feel good about it as you have helped the guys get up during the week."

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