Justin Tipuric has described George North as “an absolute freak” as he closes in on making Test rugby history.
North, who suffered a scratched eye against Ireland last weekend, could reach a century of caps for his country when Wales tackle Guinness Six Nations opponents Scotland on Saturday.
At 28 years and 306 days, he would eclipse Australia captain Michael Hooper as the youngest player to achieve that feat by 42 days.
Even if North is not cleared to feature against the Scots this weekend, a clash at home against England on 27 February would give him the chance to bring up the landmark.
Only five other players – Alun Wyn Jones, Gethin Jenkins, Stephen Jones, Gareth Thomas and Martyn Williams – have featured in 100 Wales Tests.
George North suffers a scratched eye against Ireland
“He is an absolute freak, let’s be honest,” Wales flanker Tipuric said. “With us this season at the Ospreys it is a bit like when you are a kid – just give George the ball and see what he can do. That is how much of a freak he is.
“It’s great when you have one player out wide who can do anything in a matter of moments. He is that x-factor player teams need to win games and trophies.
Independent Rugby Newsletter
Live Rugby union coverage direct to your inbox every week
Read our full mailing list consent terms here
“I think the main thing is he has got a smile on his face and he is enjoying his rugby.
“Whenever I have played with him he has always given 100 per cent, and that is all you can ask for with any player, let alone one of the quality of George.”
Whether or not North features at Murrayfield, Wales know they have got a considerable task on their hands this weekend.
Their recent record against Scotland is impressive, with 16 wins from the last 19 meetings, but they will face a team fresh from inflicting Calcutta Cup misery on England at Twickenham.
Key architects of that famous Scottish success were flankers Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson, and Tipuric knows the back-row battle is going to be intense.
“They are absolute quality back-rowers,” he added. “They play so well together whenever we play against them, for Edinburgh or Scotland.
“They work hard and work hand in hand. When they are both on the field at the same time we know how tough a game it is.
“You know every breakdown, every tackle and every carry is going to be a tough one.
“Obviously, they (Scotland) are favourites for the game and aiming to win the Six Nations. They are playing at home and will want to continue (their form).
“We know it is going to be a tough game, so we need to go up there and make sure we perform to the best of our ability.”
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac will name his team on Thursday, and he must make at least four changes from the Ireland game as wing Hallam Amos, centre Johnny Williams, scrum-half Tomos Williams and flanker Dan Lydiate are all out injured.
Liam Williams, Nick Tompkins, Gareth Davies and Josh Navidi are their likely respective replacements, with British and Irish Lions back Williams returning from a three-match ban.
Rugby coverage is brought to you in association with QBE who help businesses build resilience through risk management and insurance. For more information go to QBEEUROPE.com
Source: Read Full Article