George North (AP)
London - George North is licking his lips for the challenge
of testing himself against the talented young South African midfield
combination of Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel.
The 23-year-old North is himself still only a youngster, but
with 54 tests and three caps for the British and Irish Lions, he can already be
regarded as a veteran.
The gigantic outside back, who stands 1.94m in his socks and
tips the scales at 109kg, has played most of his rugby on the wing for Wales.
On Saturday he played at outside centre in the 15-6 loss
against Australia at Twickenham.
Even though North is more or less the same age as his
Springbok midfield counterparts, he is much more experienced.
De Allende is also 23 years old. He is 1.89m tall and weighs a hefty 101kg.
The Stormers star however has only played in 10 Tests thus far. His midfield
partner is only 21 years old. He is 1.86m and weighs in at 95kg.
Last week Kriel played in only his eighth Test when the Boks
demolished the USA 64-0 at the Olympic Stadium.
North would no doubt like to use all his experience to
neutralise the Bok midfield duo.
“We will have to do our homework because Damian and Jesse
are playing magnificent rugby. They have already shown what they are capable of
and will pose a significant threat as a combination. We will therefore have to
be ready for them,” warned North.
The Welshman believes South Africa will provide a completely
different challenge to Australia.
“The Boks have a pack of forwards who are much more physical
in their approach, whereas the Wallabies perhaps have more skilful backs,” he
The big outside back says he has fond memories of playing
against South Africa. He scored two tries on debut for Wales as an 18-year-old
against the Boks at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on November 13, 2010.
“Yes, I remember that very well, but that’s in the past. All
that really matters now is the quarter-final on Saturday and we are fully
focussed on that,” he added.