Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

North set for Wales bow

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Teenage wing George North will make his Wales debut in Saturday's clash against world champions South Africa at the Millennium Stadium.

The 18-year-old Scarlets prospect, who is 6ft 4in and weighs in at almost 17 stone, replaces Will Harries as one of three changes following last weekend's 25-16 loss to Australia.

Full-back Lee Byrne returns after recovering from a broken bone in his hand, which means attacking catalyst James Hook being switched from last line of defence into midfield, where he partners Tom Shanklin. One enforced switch up-front sees flanker Martyn Williams win a 97th cap as replacement for his injured Cardiff Blues colleague Sam Warburton.

But there are two notable forward additions to the replacements' bench in fit-again Ryan Jones, who will cover the second-row positions, and Wasps number eight Andy Powell.

Powell has not played for Wales since the infamous golf buggy episode last season saw him kicked out of the Wales squad. He was recalled to tour New Zealand in the summer, but injury ruled him out.

North's selection is the headline act, though, coming just seven months after Wales coach Warren Gatland capped another teenage wing in the Ospreys' Tom Prydie.

Wales team: L Byrne (Ospreys); G North (Scarlets), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Ospreys) S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), M Phillips (Ospreys); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Scarlets, capt), A Jones (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), J Thomas (Ospreys).

Replacements: H Bennett (Ospreys), P James (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys), A Powell (Wasps), R Rees (Cardiff Blues), A Bishop (Ospreys), C Czekaj (Cardiff Blues).

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