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Northampton wing George North plays down head injury concerns

George North has given short shrift to questions over his welfare and suggested the stories which followed his latest head injury were blown out of proportion.

The 24-year-old Wales and Northampton wing has a history of head injuries, the fifth coming in December against Leicester.

World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby have all analysed the way his club managed the incident, but each stopped short of penalising Saints.

North was asked how he now is following Saints' European Champions Cup win over Castres on Saturday.

"I'm good," he told BBC Radio Northampton, without expanding on his answer.

When the interviewer probed further, North added: "Well, you boys have to get paid somehow don't you? So you boys can make stories up. I'm all right."

Rugby's global governing body last week expressed "disappointment" at Northampton's failings, after North fell heavily following a tackle from Adam Thompstone in Aviva Premiership action on December 3.

North appeared to be knocked unconscious after landing heavily from Leicester wing Thompstone's aerial challenge in the Tigers' 19-11 league win at Welford Road.

The British and Irish Lions wing underwent a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) and returned to the fray, but World Rugby has now confirmed North should have been permanently removed instead.

North was later stood down by Northampton, missing three weeks of action as he recovered from his latest head injury issue.

The Wales wing endured an enforced five-month break in November 2014 owing to a string of nasty concussions.

The RFU and Premiership Rugby set up the first Concussion Management Review Group to investigate North's latest head-injury incident, that later highlighted Northampton's shortcomings - but again stopped short of imposing any penalty.

Northampton have endured troubles on the field in recent weeks, too, with director of rugby Jim Mallinder's job under scrutiny.

But confidence is returning following a fourth straight win.

North added: "We've had a tough six weeks here at the club. We've had to strip back and start again.

"The last four games shows where we want to go and how we're progressing - s ome dogged wins, but some good rugby at the same time. We've showed glimpses of good rugby.

"If we can keep playing like that and some passes go to me, then I should be a happy man then."


From Belfast Telegraph