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The Incredible Welsh Hulk eager to take it to Australia and close out series

“The overriding feeling is one of excitement,” declared the winger. “We’re ready for the challenge

George North, fittingly, stands beside an Incredible Hulk mural in Melbourne.
George North, fittingly, stands beside an Incredible Hulk mural in Melbourne.
Image: David Davies/PA Wire

“WE NEED SOME more machines here,” jokes George North as he settles in to face the dictaphones and their owners.

Machine would sum up the Welshman aptly. Ever since his arrival on the international scene, at the tender age of 18, in 2010, North has showcased a game that is all about piston-driven power and a fleet footedness that belies his 6′ 4″, 17 stone, frame.

The Sydney Morning Herald teased about big slabs of red meat arriving on Australian shores this summer but they’ve never seen a slab of meat moved with such fluidity and devastating direction changes. Well, not from the northern hemisphere. North’s first-half try against the Wallabies will go down in Lions history as an all-time wonder score, right up there with Brian O’Driscoll’s 60-metre dash against the same opponents in 2001.

“I was pretty happy with it,” he remarked. “When you get a chance to score, from a yard out or a 100 yards out, you’ve got to take it.”

North credits Dutch sprinting coach Frans Bosch with the subtle changes to his running and carrying style that have resulted in his pacier, nimble attacking threat. “He’s a speed man so if he’s not making improvements he’s not doing his job, is he? It’s a lot of hard work and speed doesn’t come overnight. It’s gradual; you’ve got to keep working and working… I’ve been working with him for three years and I’m starting to see the results now.”

The Scarlets winger has previously apologised for his finger-pointing antics at covering Wallaby defender Will Genia before his try. Asked to revisit the matter, North said, “Anybody that knows me knows I’m not that sort of guy.”. He plans to apologise to the scrumhalf in person before kick-off today.

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If last week’s 23-21 win in Brisbane was tense, today’s encounter in Melbourne is truly ‘do or die’ for the hosts. North is expecting the Wallabies to raise their intensity again. History beckons for the Lions, however, but the winger says he will leave the speculation to ‘you lot in the media’. North, for his part, is focused on ‘taking it to them’.

“We’ve got a great chance to finish off the series now and the overriding feeling is one of excitement,” he added. “We’re ready for the challenge.”

Brian O’Driscoll was 22 in 2001 when he lost the Test Series 2-1 to Australia. He sensed at the time that he’d get a series win sooner rather than later. 12 years on and 34-year-old O’Driscoll and 21-year-old North will hope to make the breakthrough together.

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Patrick McCarry

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