United Rugby Championship: George North makes a return for Ospreys versus Scarlets

George North
George North has won 102 Wales caps. He also played three Tests for Britain and Ireland Lions on two tours. In Australia, 2013 and New Zealand four year later, he was awarded the 102th and final Tests.
Venue: Swansea.com Stadium Date:Saturday, April 30, Kick-off:17:15 BST
Coverage:Live on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Sounds; Highlights and match report on the BBC Sport app and website. Highlights from Scrum V, starting at 18:00 BST Sunday, BBC Two Wales online and later.

George North, who was injured last year and named Ospreys' replacement for Scarlets in the United Rugby Championships (URC) derby, will be making his return.

North was injured in his knee in an April 2021 match against Cardiff. His return to action has been delayed for the past few weeks.

Scarlets have made three adjustments with British and Irish Lions fullback Liam Williams returning.

Fly-half Sam Costelow (wing) and wing Ryan Conbeer (wing) also begin.

Prop Javan Sebastian will make a 50th Scarlets appearance.

Ospreys made one change to the team that beat Cardiff 22-6 Mat Protheroe replaces Max Nagy, who was injured as a full-back.

Steffan Thomas and Gareth Thomas, first cousins, will be lining up against one another.

North delay

Toby Booth, Ospreys coach, explained why North's comeback has been difficult.

Booth said that “the last five percent” is the hardest because you don’t know how to respond to training, especially after long-term injuries.

“Your body must get used to the strain you are putting on it.

“With George we got him there and then his body would respond and then we would have had to back it down.

“It wasn't straightforward. The player's feelings and reactions can only guide us.

“We are finally at a place where his body can support the training that he requires to perform well. So, he is now available.

“We'll watch what happens next weekend to see if he shows up for the next game.

“Like all of our players our goal is not to get them returned for one-offs. It's to get and keep them back.

“It is important that we keep the welfare of our players in the center of all decisions we make.”

Welsh Shield, Champions Cup and other hopes

Both sides will be competing for the Heineken Champions Cup.

The Welsh Shield is awarded to the region that finishes at the top of the league. This qualifies you for the Champions Cup next season.

Dwayne's Men lead the Ospreys at nine points going into the match. The Ospreys will be crowned Welsh Champions with victory in Swansea.

Ospreys have a game over Scarlets and will be trying to close the gap and keep alive their hopes that they can compete with Europe's elite next season.

The Scarlets may still be able to break into the top 8 play-off spots, while Ospreys are mathematically still in that equation but would lose their hope of winning on Saturday.

They say

Toby Booth is the Ospreys coach “This is a west Wales derby. We haven't played Scarlets at Swansea home in Swansea since we were coach. It will be great to do it with a crowd.

“We understand how important this match is for supporters and those associated with the club, and it's the exact same for the Scarlets.

“All derbies have significance, but we know that this derby is more important for many people.”

Dwayne Pear is Scarlets' coach “It's a huge game with lots at stake. It is perfect for both sides, with something to win.

“The Ospreys have been doing well, they've been physically active and we expect exactly that.”

Ospreys: Protheroe, Cuthbert Collins Watkin, Giles, Anscombe, Webb, (c); G Thomas Lake Francis Beard Alun Wyn Jones Griffiths J Morgan, M Morris

Replacements: Parry, N Smith. Botham, R Davies. Roots. Morgan-Williams. Myler.

Scarlets:Baldwin, J Davies, Conbeer; Costelow. G Davies. Elias. Sebastian. Lousi. J Price.

Replacements: D Hughes, R Evans. WGJohn, M Jones. Shingler. Hardy. Patchell. S Evans.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (SARU)

Assistant Referees: Adam Jones (WRU), Rhys Jones (WRU)

TMO: Wayne Davies (WRU).

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