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George North to return to Welsh rugby with Ospreys

Photo: (Getty Images)

By Jake Jones

George North will be swapping Franklin’s Gardens for the Liberty Stadium next season, as the destination of his next club was finally confirmed as the Ospreys.

The 26-year-old will return to Wales five years after leaving Scarlets for Northampton by signing on a National Dual Contract (NDC).

It has been a move five months in the making from when it was first confirmed North would be heading back to his homeland, and the 76-cap wing thanked the WRU and Ospreys head Allen Clarke for finalising the deal.

“I’m excited to be joining the Ospreys and starting a new chapter in my career when I return to Wales,” North said.

“I believe the Ospreys have an exciting future with the structure and the recruitment they have put in place and I’m really looking forward to linking up with Allen (Clarke) and the squad in the summer.

“It was a really positive decision for me to sign a National Dual Contract with the support and structure it provides. I have worked alongside the WRU to finalise my choice of region and I would like to thank everyone involved. I’m really looking forward to becoming an Osprey.”

Dan Griffiths, Rugby General Manager, Ospreys Rugby, said: “We are delighted to be able to add George to our squad for next season. A truly world class player, he is someone that everybody at the Region is excited about seeing in an Ospreys jersey, supporters, players and coaches alike.

“George has taken his time to ensure that his decision was the right one and it is fantastic news that he sees our environment as the best place to be going forward.”

Chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, Martyn Phillips, said:  “George returning home to Wales is a major positive for Welsh Rugby and for the Ospreys. I know he is really looking forward to next season and making a positive impact on Welsh rugby.”

The unveiling of North comes after Jeff Hassler’s decision to leave the club was announced earlier today.

Cardiff Blues and Dragons were reported to have shown interest in signing the player, who has won 3 British & Irish Lions Tests caps.

His former region Scarlets, who had first refusal on North, withdrew their interest in the Wales wing in December.

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