Rugby World Cup 2015: Wales ready for battle with England

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Leader Live)

GEORGE North is relishing launching his second World Cup campaign on Saturday night - an experience that he describes as rugby union's "biggest honour."

The juggernaut Northampton wing was just 19 when he helped Wales reach the World Cup semi-finals in New Zealand four years ago.

But he has gone on to win more than 50 caps - the youngest rugby union player to achieve that feat - and score 23 Test tries, which puts him fourth on Wales' all-time list behind Shane Williams, Gareth Thomas and Ieuan Evans.

"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.

"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.

"I just had a few caps to my name, and it was just a massive learning curve as to what to do and getting my preparation right.

"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."

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree believes Wales will go into Saturday's pivotal showdown with "doubts in their minds".

Since being routed in Cardiff two years ago Stuart Lancaster's men have won their last two matches against their RBS 6 Nations rivals including a rousing 21-16 victory at the Millennium Stadium in February.

"I have worked with their players and played against them for a long time," former England prop Rowntree said.

"They'll be coming with some doubts in their minds, especially when they reflect on their last two performances against us.

"But they have a coaching team who will have them wound up and they'll have a few tricks up their sleeves tactically as well."

See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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