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Mixed feeling for debut star North

Wales debutant George North admitted his delight at grabbing a try double against South Africa was tempered by his side's 29-25 defeat in a pulsating encounter at the Millennium Stadium.

The 18-year-old Scarlets wing scored his first Test try after just six minutes, taking a short ball from Stephen Jones and racing through a hole in the Springbok defence, helping Wales to open up a 20-9 lead as James Hook added a second try and Stephen Jones kicked 10 points.

"I'm over the moon with the debut, but very disappointed with the defeat," said North.

The youngster, who stands at 6ft 4in and weighs over 16 stones, then got his second from Jones' cross-kick as Wales attempted to fight back from a burst of 17 points in nine minutes from the visitors, who scored tries through replacement Willem Alberts, on his first cap, and skipper Victor Matfield.

Fly-half Morne Steyn converted both scores and kicked two second-half penalties on his way to a personal haul of 19 points as the tourists claimed a 12th consecutive win over Wales by surviving a fierce late onslaught.

"The whole experience was much more than I had expected. The atmosphere was fantastic and I loved every minute," he added. "The call came from Stephen Jones on that first try and I just did my job coming around the corner. It all opened up for me and I thought 'I'm in here'.

"On the second try I gave the call to Stephen and he put in a great kick. I got a lucky bounce, caught the ball and went over the line. I was trying to work my way into the game, get some carries and make a contribution. But you can never rest against the world champions."

And North, who became Wales' second-youngest points scorer in Tests when he crossed the whitewash for the first time, is eager to get another taste of international rugby in the remaining autumn engagements with Fiji and New Zealand.

"I'm just delighted that the Scarlets gave me the opportunity to show what I can do. Hopefully I can get some more games under my belt after this," he added.

Wales coach Warren Gatland also praised the contribution of the principality's latest star, joking: "He was okay, wasn't he? It's nice to have the balance between him and Shane, a bigger winger and a smaller winger, and he got us out of trouble a few times."


From Belfast Telegraph