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North believes time is right to leave Saints and return to Wales

 

By Andrew Baldock

George North will leave Northampton Saints at the end of this season and return to Wales on a national dual contract.

The wing, who has won 69 Wales caps and scored 30 tries, has agreed a deal from next term, the Welsh Rugby Union announced on Twitter.

Northampton released their own statement confirming the 25-year-old's departure. It is not known at this stage which of the four Welsh regions - Scarlets, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues or NG Dragons - he will join.

National dual contracts are 60 per cent funded by the WRU, with the player's region paying the rest.

In a statement released by the WRU, North said: "As a proud Welshman, I am excited to be heading back to Wales.

"I feel that the time is right and the opportunity to sign an NDC, with the benefits that come with it and the support it provides from the national squad set-up, was a great option for me.

"I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of Northampton Saints for four years. I am excited to see what we can achieve this season, and I will be putting everything I have into helping the squad fulfil our potential this year."

Former Scarlets player North's return home is a major coup for Wales and their head coach Warren Gatland, who said: "At just 25, George is in the prime of his career, and signing an NDC will allow him to flourish.

"It is great for the game in Wales to see a player of George's stature and reputation return. In the coming weeks and months, we will work with George to determine which of the four regions has the best playing environment to suit him."

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