Warren Gatland (Gallo)
Twickenham - Wales' George North hopes
knowledge gained from the 2011 World Cup will stand him in good stead when he
faces England at Twickenham on Saturday.
The giant wing was only 19-years-old when
he helped Wales reach the semi-finals in New Zealand four years ago.
Since then North, now with English
Premiership side Northampton, has become the youngest player to win 50 Tests
caps and his 23 Test tries put him fourth in Wales' all-time list.
In a career that already includes a
victorious British and Irish Lions tour of Australia in 2013, when Wales coach
Warren Gatland was in charge, North was in no doubt about the status of the
"For me, the World Cup is the biggest
honour," he said. "Whenever I put a Wales jersey on, I want to play
my best, so there is no lack of effort.
"But any World Cup is the time you
want to be shining, and obviously being so close to home this time it would be
a good one to shine in."
In 2011 North was still, by his own
admission a Test novice.
"For me, 2011 was a massive learning
curve. If I look back, it was just the fact that I was so young and so naive to
the ways of international rugby at the time," he said.
"I guess now it is a case of becoming
more professional and knowing what is better for me on a week-to-week basis
with a Test match on the Saturday.
"It has generally been about working
out where I can be a pain," added North, who this year spent several
months out of rugby because of a series of concussion injuries.
Tournament hosts England and Wales won
their opening World Cup matches last week and victory for either side on
Saturday would take a huge stride towards securing a quarter-final place from
the tough group also featuring two-time champions Australia. There is also Fiji
who knocked the Welsh out of the 2007 World Cup in France.
"You look at our group, and everyone
has dubbed it the group of death. Obviously, it is very hard, and our first big
test is coming this Saturday," North said.
Injuries have deprived Wales of the likes
of full-back Leigh Halfpenny and scrum-half Rhys Webb.
"I think if you look at the (Wales)
squad, obviously we have had some injuries, but every man that has been picked
at the weekend 'Gats' has got complete trust in," North added.
"I have no doubt that we will go and
do a job for each other. We have got the chance to show what we can do."
England, in the absence of injured centre
Jonathan Joseph, have opted for a muscular midfield combination of rugby league
converts Sam Burgess and Brad Barritt.
"They have obviously got two big
bashers in Burgess and Barritt, and the more we play and work around them, the
better," said North.