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North relishing Wales chance

Teenage sensation George North - a player who has already been dubbed the Welsh Jonah Lomu - will be unleashed on Test match rugby this weekend.

The juggernaut Scarlets wing, all 6ft 4in and 16 stone 7lbs of him, is set to line up against world champions South Africa and mark Springboks speed machine Bryan Habana.

Recalling his selection, North said: "(coach) Warren (Gatland) got up and announced the squad for the South Africa game, and when he got to number 14 he suddenly read out my name. I was shocked and it took my breath away. Then it was over and all the boys came up to congratulate me - it was just such an awesome moment."

He added: "A couple of months ago I was starting the season with the Scarlets, and now I am here. I've had texts coming through from the whole family. It's amazing.

"I will be nervous, but to be honest I can't wait to give it my all and play my game in front of the Millennium Stadium fans.

"Part of my shock at selection is that I have just come back from injury, but I have just got to control myself and look forward to the game."

Gatland, who has also recalled fit-again full-back Lee Byrne, switched attacking catalyst James Hook into midfield alongside Tom Shanklin and replaced injured flanker Sam Warburton with 96 times-capped Martyn Williams, hailed North's rapid rise.

His elevation to senior international status comes in the same year that Gatland capped another teenage wing and World Cup prospect in the Ospreys' Tom Prydie.

"I have watched him play a number of games for the Scarlets, and he has got all the attributes to be a quality player," said Gatland. "He's big, he's quick, and this will be a great opportunity for him.

"There is no pressure on him. He just needs to go out and enjoy the experience of winning his first cap."


From Belfast Telegraph