Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

North not resting on laurels

George North fears his three-try haul in Northampton's 53-6 Aviva Premiership rout of Gloucester at Franklin's Gardens may have seen him peak too early.

North displayed clever footwork for his first two tries before switching on the afterburners for the third as the reigning champions issued a statement of intent.

"It was one hell of a long season for me last year so it was nice to have a break, but I may have peaked too soon for the season!" the Wales wing said.

"Personally I was pretty happy with the performance."

Northampton plundered eight tries and delivered the bonus point just three minutes after the interval.

Luther Burrell crossed twice, outplaying England rival and opposite number Billy Twelvetrees in the process, with George Pisi, Kahn Fotuali'i and Jon Fisher also touching down.

But the night belonged to North as Gloucester slumped to a record Premiership defeat.

"We can be pretty happy with that. We were a bit guilty in the last 20 or 30 minutes of trying too much," man of the match North said.

"But it was our first game of the season and we set our stall out pretty early.

"We've made a conscious effort as champions not to be one-hit wonders.

"We want to back last season up and work hard to make sure we can do it again.

"Obviously I'm biased, but this is a tough place for anyone to come in the first game of the season.

"Gloucester have a lot of quality in their squad now, but it's difficult after all that restructuring."

It has been a summer of upheaval at Gloucester following a squad overhaul and director of rugby David Humphreys insisted it will take time before their work will bear fruit.

"Nobody likes to get beaten like that, but we said all through pre-season that we wouldn't know where we are until we've played the first six games of the season," he said.

"At that point we'll know much better where we are and where we can aspire to be by the end of the season.

"It was a tough night, but we were playing the champions and we saw why last season they were first and we were ninth.

"We know we're much better than that scoreline suggests and now it's down to us to show that."


From Belfast Telegraph