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27th Aug 2015

George North returns after 5 months out as teams announced for Ireland vs Wales

Gatland names strong Welsh team

Kevin Beirne

George North will make his first appearance in five months as Warren Gatland has named him on the wing for Wales’s World Cup warm-up game against Ireland in Dublin.

North – who will be winning his 50th international cap – has not played in almost half a year after suffering three concussions in quick succession at the start of the year. But after following the necessary protocols, the 23-year-old has been passed fit to play.

Gatland has named a much stronger team than the one which lost 35-21 to Ireland in the Millennium Stadium two weeks ago, including a back row of Dan Lydiate, Justin Tupuric and Toby Faletau.

Tomas Francis makes his debut at prop ahead of the official 31-man squad announcement on Monday, August 31.

Alun-Wyn Jones captains the side from the second-row in the absence of Sam Warburton, who has a pinched nerve that is not believed to be serious.

Meanwhile, Ireland outhalf Johnny Sexton will start his first game of the warm ups with a half-strength backline outside him, which includes Luke Fitzgerald starting at outside centre.

Nathan White makes his first international start as a tighthead prop and will likely be replaced by the uncapped Tadhg Furlong at some stage in the game.

The teams in full are:


15. Rob Kearney, 14. Dave Kearney, 13. Luke Fitzgerald, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. Keith Earls, 10. Johnny Sexton, 9. Conor Murray; 1. Jack McGrath, 2. Richardt Strauss, 3. Nathan White, 4. Iain Henderson, 5. Paul O’Connell (captain), 6. Peter O’Mahony, 7. Jordi Murphy, 8. Jamie Heaslip

Replacements: 16. Sean Cronin, 17. Dave Kilcoyne, 18. Tahdg Furlong, 19. Donnacha Ryan, 20. Sean O’Brien, 21. Eoin Reddan, 22. Paddy Jackson, 23. Felix Jones


15. Leigh Halfpenny, 14. Alex Cuthbert, 13. Scott Williams, 12. Jamie Roberts, 11. George North, 10. Dan Biggar, 9. Rhys Webb; 1. Gethin Jenkins, 2. Ken Owens, 3. Tomas Francis, 4. Bradley Davies, 5. Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 6. Dan Lydiate, 7. Justin Tipuric, 8. Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: 16. Scott Baldwin, 17. Paul James, 18. Aaron Jarvis, 19. Luke Charteris, 20. James King, 21. Gareth Davies, 22. Rhys Priestland, 23. Hallam Amos.