Scarlets confirm North’s signing with Northampton

Scarlets Rugby Club have confirmed that they have released Wales winger George North to Aviva Premiership Rugby club from the end of the season.

The Scarlets agreed to release 20-year-old wing George North a year early from his contract to join Northampton Saints in 2013/14 on a three-year deal that takes him beyond the next Rugby World Cup.

North was born in the English town of King’s Lynn and grew up in Anglesey, North Wales and debuted for the Scarlets in September 2010.

The winger is one of Europe’s best wingers and likely to tour Australia with the British and Irish Lions in June but the Scarlets were not able to afford to keep him.

Scarlets chief executive Mark Davies says “we made George the very best offer we could.”

“However, we have to fully understand and appreciate that George’s quite unique value in the rugby marketplace, possibly inside Wales, but certainly outside Wales, is considerably greater than the Scarlets as an independent business can reach.”

“Despite our desire to retain all our internationals within the region, we have to balance our available resource over the need to sustain a 50-deep player squad that can continue to compete during international periods.

North made his Test debut as an 18-year-old against South Africa in 2010, scoring two tries on that occasion and went on to play a starring role as Wales reached the 2011 World Cup semi-finals, before helping them secure the 2012 and 2013 Six Nations titles.

Allan Robson, Chief Executive of Northampton Saints said: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with the Scarlets for George North to join us; we thank the Scarlets for their co-operation and responsibility in this matter since we made an approach via George North’s representative to discuss bringing him to Franklin’s Gardens.

“Everyone in our rugby community recognises and respects what an outstanding job the Scarlets have done to support, develop and invest in George North as rugby player, along with many other internationals within their remarkably successful set-up.

“He is an exceptional talent and one of the most formidable back-three attacking players in world rugby – with so much more to achieve in his rugby career at just 20 years old. “

“We look forward with great anticipation to what he can bring to his performances with Northampton Saints next season.”

The winger has now won a total 31 caps for Wales and joins a growing trend of Welshmen leaving the regions for greener pastures.

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